Meyiwa's blunder costs Pirates
Senzo Meyiwa (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - A goalkeeping gaffe by Orlando Pirates' Senzo Meyiwa cost his side two points and the chance to move to second place on the Absa Premiership log when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Bay United at the Johannesburg Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Buccaneers looked well in control of the game when Siphelele Mthembu had scored his first league goal for the club to hand them a 1-0 lead, but Meyiwa's schoolboy error allowed the Eastern Cape side to snatch an equaliser and then hold out for a valuable away draw that sees them keep up their remarkable unbeaten record against the 'big three' of Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns.
Pirates were shorn of several of their first choice players, missing Lucas Thwala, Teko Modise, Moeneeb Josephs and Benson Mhlongo through suspension and injury. And things got worse just before half time when Bennett Chenene had to limp off, replaced by Oupa Manyisa.
Both sides struggled to find their rhythm in the opening quarter, but just before the midway point of the first half the hosts began to string together some decent passing movements, and Josephy Kamwendo duly fired a left-footed drive just wide of Arthur Bartman's goal.
The Buccaneers opened the scoring in the 26th minute, with the unmarked Mthembu heading home from Dikgang Mabalane's left-wing cross. Mabalane should have made it 2-0 just a minute later when he was presented with a clear shooting chance, but he could only direct his effort straight at Bartman.
However, Pirates' lead lasted just five minutes. Meyiwa made an absolute howler in a situation that seemed to pose no danger and Bay's Cameroonian striker Jean Njoh was able to walk the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-1.
The hosts dominated possession in the second half, but they clearly lacked the creative spark and long-range shooting ability of Modise. It took until the 65th minute for Pirates to carve out another scoring chance, and then Katlego Mashego only managed a shot across the face of goal after a good solo run that saw him beat several defenders.
Meyiwa almost made another glaring error four minutes later when he awkwardly batted Jermaine Christian's dipping shot back into the danger area. Christian's effort bounced just before the Pirates 'keeper, but the hesitant manner in which Meyiwa dealt with it betrayed his lack of confidence.
Pirates almost got lucky with 14 minutes to play when a speculative but well-struck long range effort from Lebogang Mothibantwa took a wicked deflection off central defender Patrick Mayo and flashed just wide of Bartman's left-hand post.
With six minutes to play a cross from Innocent Mdledle almost handed Mthembu the chance to score from close range, but Christian did enough to force the ball out for a corner kick from virtually under his own crossbar.
The result sees Pirates move to third on 30 points, four adrift of leaders SuperSport United and just one behind Ajax Cape Town. United stay second from bottom on 17 points.
Orlando Pirates (1) 1 (Mthembu 26')
Bay United (1) 1 (Njoh 31')
Pirates: Meyiwa, Jele (Mdledle 61'), Mahamutsa, Seema, Lekgwathi, Mabalane, Mothibantwa, Kamwendo (Chiloane 80'), Chenene (Manyisa 40'), Mashego, Mthembu
United: Bartman, Makhubo, Francis, Mayo, Christian, Khumalo (Mukansi 86'), Ngalo, Vilakazi (Galada 64'), Makhathini, Songwiqi (Ncaca 54'), Njoh
Cautions: Christian, Njoh