This was expected. When Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane earlier this week predicted this game would be a draw, many thought he was just being his usual arrogant self.
But he was right, as a draw in the Soweto derby proved a foregone conclusion. It is not difficult to see why, because neither side wanted to lose and both gave equally to win.
The only difference between this draw and many others is that it was a highly riveting game. Both sides put up a serious fight – they did not let go, and did not want to disappoint their supporters.
Chiefs should have stolen all three points, but Brighton Mhlongo save a spot kick by Willard Katsande.
It was a brave call by assistant referee Zakhele Siwela to point to the spot after Ayanda Gcaba was adjudged to have handled inside the box. But justice was done, and Mhlongo saved their blushes.
Both sides may feel these are two points lost, as they both needed the three points for various reasons.
For Chiefs, the draw might be seen as a serious dent in their title ambitions, as they are now three points adrift of log leaders Cape Town City.
They needed the points to close the gap and keep pressure at the top, while Pirates, for their part, are still stuck in the bottom half of the log, where they feel they do not belong.
Pirates’ new coach Kjell Jonevret should be happy with his charges for their spectacular display. But the Swede still has a long way to go if he is to achieve his goal of saving the Bucs’ ship.
It seems as if the two teams heard the supporters’ plea for a great game when as they dished out great performances yesterday afternoon. This kind of match was long overdue for both sides.
It was worthy of a Soweto derby – one that will take time to be erased from supporters’ minds.
Having last won a game in November, Pirates did not show any signs of a team going through a bad patch. This is what the Soweto derby does to players – it brings out the best in them.
Bucs players looked far more motivated than usual as they took the game to the host, who had goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune to thank for two great saves before they scored on the other side.
The country’s number one was at his best to deny Dové Womé and Thamsanqa Gabuza within five minutes of one another. Pirates were on top of their game and kept Chiefs under intense pressure.
However, they had to concede against the run of play, as Chiefs struck first through a former Pirates player Joseph Molangoane, who had the easiest tap to put Amakhosi ahead.
The speedy winger looked more possessed playing against his former team-mates as he nearly scored a second goal only for goalkeeper Mhlongo to thwart his effort.
But Pirates didn’t give up and duly found their equaliser in the 33rd minute through a freak goal by Thembinkosi Lorch. It was a soft goal to concede for Khune, who had no business to let it in.
It was an end-to-end spectacle that kept the supporters on their feet throughout.
Even though the derby ended in a draw, it was a far better sight than previous draws.