Orlando Pirates stage thrilling late comeback to draw against FC Platinum

Ali Sadiki of Platinum challenged by Luvuyo Memela and Xola Mlambo of Orlando Pirates during the CAF Champions League match between Orlando Pirates and Platinum at Orlando Stadium, Johannesburg on 08 March 2019.
Ali Sadiki of Platinum challenged by Luvuyo Memela and Xola Mlambo of Orlando Pirates during the CAF Champions League match between Orlando Pirates and Platinum at Orlando Stadium, Johannesburg on 08 March 2019.
Image: ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates produced one of their worst performances in their 2018-19 Caf Champions League campaign when they played to a needless 2-2 draw against FC Platinum of Zimbabwe at Orlando Stadium on Friday night.

The Buccaneers make their route to the last eight of the tournament almost impossible with the last Group B match away to Horoya SC of Guinea coming on Saturday.

Platinum, who held Pirates to a goalless stalemate in the first leg in Harare, came to this match as no-hopers having already been eliminated after scoring no goals in three defeats and one draw in their previous four matches.

The Buccaneers, who were in the third placed and trailing Horoya by two points, wasted a wonderful opportunity to move the second place of the group with eight points as they allowed the Zimbabwean team to dominate them in their own turf in the first 45 minutes.

Pirates failed to take the advantage of the fact that Horoya suffered a 2-0 defeat away to group leaders and reigning champions, Esperance of Tunisia who have now qualified for the quarterfinals with a game to spare.

Pirates’ draw means they will now have to beat Horoya in Conakry on Saturday if there are to progress to the knockout round, but judging by their display here on Friday night it looks unlikely they will win away against the only team they’ve managed to beat in this group.

The score here could have been 3-0 by halftime if it was not the Bucs keeper Wayne Sandilands who had to produce a brillaint save to deny Never Tigere from the penalty spot in the 19th minute after defender Caio da Silva had handled the ball inside the box.

But eight minutes later Tigere was given plenty of space and time to beat Sandilands, this time his powerful ground shot just outside the area deflecting off Bucs defender Alfred Ndengane to leave the Bucs gloveman with no chance to pull another save.

Ndengane, who was having a nightmare of the game, was again guilty in Platinum’s second goal in the 37th minute, allowing Perfect Chikwende to come between him and Sandilands inside the area and poked the ball to Rainsome Paviri for an easy tap in into an empty net.

Pirates did try to come back into the game in the second but their half-hearted attempts were not enough to defeat Platinum who also added time-wasting tactics to crush the home team’s momentum.

Goals by Thembinkosi Lorch in the 81st minute and Augustine Mulenga in the 87th minute came far too late to help the Buccaneers produce a late win.

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