By: CHRIS TOTOBELA
Football fans braved the chilly weather on Sunday 20 May, coming in numbers to witness a top of the table clash between two teams with a lot of history. Log leaders, City Pirates, took on Riebeck City, who are third on the log, in a Makana LFA fixture at the JD Dlepu Stadium in Grahamstown. Pirates looked to avenge their round one defeat (2-1) to Riebeck City in Riebeck East earlier in the season.
Both teams made their intentions clear early on. Pirates dominated the early exchanges putting their opponents under pressure. The first chance of the game fell on Pirates but their striker’s shot went narrowly wide. Riebeck City sat back, trying to absorb the pressure and were caught ball watching when Sinathi Matiwana rose high to head home from a set-piece on the right side of the field. Pirates kept on piling the pressure, creating scoring chances and were rewarded when Nkosinathi Mpumlo ran into a perfect through pass to beat the oncoming keeper with ease and extended his team’s lead. This saw Pirates head into the break 2-0 up on the scoreboard.
Pirates tightened the screws in the second half but decision making in the final third of the field let them down. Pirates were caught on the counter attack when a dangerous through pass set Kamvelihle Kondile up who easily slotted the ball home to reduce the deficit. Riebeck City took the game to Pirates in search of an equaliser. The action heated up and swerved from one end to the other and it took a scorcher from just few metres away from the halfway line by Leon Pieterse, who left the keeper with no chance of saving it, to level matters and get the fans on their feet. The game became tougher and more exciting as both teams went forward searching for a winner. Both keepers were kept very busy in the last twenty minutes of the game and were relieved to hear the final whistle. A scuffle broke at the end of the game when travelling Riebeck City fans stormed the pitch and confronted match officials but that was immediately extinguished. It was a great game and an obvious contender for the game of the season.
Riebeck City coach, Davi Romani, was very excited after the game and said, “we came here for a win, we were prepared for this game and we knew it was never going to be easy but a draw away from home is not bad at all. The officiating was not good [however]which is always the case when we play here.”
Pirates coach, Loyiso Plaatjie, said, “we could gave killed the game in the first half but my boys missed a lot of chances. We allowed them back in the game. Our boys got excited and got punished but they will learn from this.”