The ‘original’ Soweto derby between Swallows FC and Orlando Pirates ended in a 1-1 draw at the Dobsonville Stadium on Tuesday night.
The result sees the Buccaneers placed third on 24 points – now 16 adrift of leaders Mamelodi Sundowns – while the Birds are 13th and just one point above the relegation playoff zone.
The team clad in maroon will feel encouraged by their performance against Pirates, having been the better side for large swathes of the match, though they continue to lack a killer instinct in the final third.
Pirates got off to a flyer and were 1-0 up in just the third minute, with Bandile Shandu latching onto Fortune Makaringe’s pass before steering a low shot past goalkeeper Jody February for his second goal in as many matches.
Swallows got themselves back on level terms in the 15th minute, via a confidently-struck penalty from Ruzaigh Gamildien. The spot kick was won by Keletso Makgalwa, who was tripped up in the 18-yard area by Paseka Mako.
After that fast and furious opening quarter hour, the game settled into a more placid rhythm, with Swallows generally seeing more of the ball and looking to take pot shots, though they rarely bothered Mpontshane.
Pirates tried to use their pace on the break, but the likes of Thembinkosi Lorch and Deon Hotto were not able to influence the game, leaving Terrence Dzvukamanja and Kwame Peprah feeding off scraps.
The early minutes of the second half saw the Buccaneers up their game, though it was Swallows who so nearly claimed the third goal of the game on the hour mark.
An overlapping Tebogo Langerman saw his shot from a tight angle hit the chest of Mpontshane – the rebound then fell kindly for Kamohelo Mahlatsi, who steered a shot beyond the ‘keeper and on target, but his effort was heroically cleared off the line by Mako.
On 64 minutes the Birds had another chance to take the lead, with Langerman again threatening as he had a quick turn and stabbed shot from the left of the box, but Mpontshane saved well with his feet.
Makgalwa then nearly scored an absolute beauty, whipping a right-footed shot from just outside the box that left Mpontshane rooted to the spot and looked destined for the top corner… only to flash narrowly wide of the mark.
Pirates had offered little in attack for most of the second half, but they finally caused problems for Swallows on 86 minutes when Hotto sprinted down the left and clipped in a cross which was deflected off a defender, but February did well to claim the dangerous ball.
That proved to be the last attacking highlight at either end, with the Soweto rivals ultimately settling for a share of the spoils.
The teams will return to DStv Premiership action this coming weekend, with Pirates away to Mamelodi Sundowns on Friday 17 December and Swallows visiting Cape Town City the following day.
Swallows FC (1) 1 (Gamildien 15’ pen)
Orlando Pirates (1) 1 (Shandu 3’)
SWALLOWS: February, Matlaba, Letlabika, Sasman, Langerman, Margeman, Mokoena (Musonda 83’), Mahlatsi, Saleng (K. Ndlovu 77’), Makgalwa (Thibedi 83’), Gamildien (Muwowo 89’)
PIRATES: Mpontshane, Shandu (Mngonyama 61’), Ndah, Nyauza, Mako, Lorch (Dlamini 61’), Makaringe (Mhango 88’), Monare, Hotto, Dzvukamanja (Mosele 71’), Peprah (Radiopane 71’)
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