Johannesburg – This is what football derbies are made of.
Swallows failed to end the succession of draws – five in six matches – that has been plaguing them lately after being held 1-all by Orlando Pirates at Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto yesterday.
There were plenty of fireworks from the first whistle of this original Soweto derby that pitted the Birds against the Buccaneers, clubs that are steeped in the history of South African football.
The early tackles and knocks forced referee Victor Gomes to work overtime as he tried to calm the gradually flaring tempers.
Earlier, Vincent Pule’s shot was parried into play by Swallows keeper Virgil Vries, while the advancing Ntsikelelo Nyauza also failed to connect the rebound. Swallows, a side that has only lost once in the DStv Premiership this season, had to thwart several goal attempts as Pirates gained momentum in the first stanza.
Bucs central defender and captain Thulani Hlatshwayo spectacularly let his side down with an own goal.
He had tried to clear but instead headed home , leaving his veteran keeper Wayne Sandilands bemused.
In a game not short of drama, Pirates players invaded the Swallows danger area five minutes from the break and just about everyone on the field failed to put the ball across the line as the Birds’ wall tightened with each attempt.
Eight minutes into the second half, Deon Hott o made a solo run, shaking off the defence.
However, Swallows were saved by a quick-thinking Njabulo Ngcobo when he astoundingly cleared, saving Vries the blushes.
The Sea Robbers kept on probing and were rescued by super-subs Wayde Jooste and Tshegofatso Mabasa when the former delivered a perfect ball to Mabasa, whose shot left Vries beaten as he watched the ball go past him, hitting the back of the net to level matters.
The stalemate means Bucs remain in fourth place, one point above Swallows, while the Birds are in fifth place on the log.
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