“While the season is still in its early stages, Orlando Pirates face a daunting challenge in catching up to Mamelodi Sundowns for the DStv Premiership title. In their recent league clash at Orlando Stadium, Pirates settled for a 1-1 draw against Polokwane City, further hindering their title aspirations.
Patrick Maswanganyi broke the deadlock in the 39th minute, only to see Given Mashikinya equalize for Polokwane. Orlando Pirates desperately needed a win to reinvigorate their league campaign, but the draw dashed those hopes.
The Buccaneers currently lag 15 points behind the league leaders, Mamelodi Sundowns, who have played eight games compared to Pirates’ seven. Closing this considerable gap to Sundowns, who show no signs of faltering, appears to be an insurmountable task for Orlando Pirates.
Their struggles against supposedly weaker teams have compounded their challenges. The Sea Robbers, currently in 12th place with nine points, have failed to secure a victory in their last three matches, adding significant pressure to their coach, Jose Riveiro. Although they have won the MTN8 and remain contenders in the Carling Knockout Cup, Pirates have encountered difficulties in the league and were eliminated from the Caf Champions League preliminary stages.
Riveiro made several changes to the lineup following a goalless draw against AmaZulu FC. Miguel Timm replaced Thabang Monare, and Karim Kimvuidi took the place of Kermit Erasmus. Timm’s presence in midfield provided the team with better control, as he orchestrated alongside the dynamic Siphelo Baloni.
Orlando Pirates dominated the game from the start, creating opportunities, but it was the visitors who had the better chances. Hlayisi Chauke forced an excellent save from Melusi Buthelezi in the 10th minute, set up by Mashikinya’s precise delivery inside the box.
Rise and Shine had another close opportunity when Ndumiso Mabena’s powerful shot narrowly missed the mark. Despite these chances, Pirates took the lead in the 39th minute, with Timm, Thembinkosi Lorch, and Maswanganyi combining effectively.
In the second half, Pirates continued to dominate possession but failed to extend their lead. To bolster their attack, the Spanish coach, Riveiro, introduced last season’s star player, Monnapule Saleng, in the 61st minute.
However, it was the visitors who found the equalizer, with Mashikinya scoring a well-placed strike just outside the box in the 72nd minute. Despite the draw, Pirates fans showed unwavering support for their team, which has struggled in the league and fallen significantly behind the unstoppable Sundowns.
Pirates will now face Cape Town Spurs in their next league match on Wednesday.”