Orlando Pirates were held to a 1-1 draw by a plucky young Stellenbosch FC side at Danie Craven Stadium on Wednesday night.
On a cold and wet night in the Western Cape, both sides played their part in a lively, open encounter, with a draw probably the right result. It leaves the Buccaneers’ new coach Jose Riveiro with four points from two games following last weekend’s league opening win over Swallows FC.
Bandile Shandu was Pirates' liveliest player in the opening minutes and his probing cross in the 12th minute was inches away from setting up Bienvenu Eva Nga right in front of goal.
Three minutes later Bucs were close again when Kabelo Dlamini sent a half-volley just over the bar.
The game had been even though - and there were chances also for the hosts as Antonio van Wyk almost caught out the visiting side with a shot from a very tight angle, before Mogamat de Goede's header forced a goal-line save from Innocent Maela after goalkeeper Richard Ofori was found wanting on a corner.
The impressive van Wyk also left Sibisi for dead in the 38th minute but couldn't finish, instead ballooning a shot over the goal.
It was however to be Pirates who drew first blood as Nkosinathi Sibisi came storming in to head home Kabelo Dlamini's 45th-minute corner in emphatic style.
Following the restart, Sea Robbers defender Olisa Ndah was lucky not to be sent off for a second bookable offence after a clumsy foul.
Stellenbosch meanwhile began to up the ante against a stuttering Bucs side and they had their reward in the 54th minute when Junior Mendieta rose strongly at the back post above Maela to head in superbly from Fawaaz Basadien's pinpoint delivery from the left.
Stellies now looked to be the stronger side, though Pirates were by no means out of it and that was seen in the 62nd minute when Goodman Mosele’s shot was deflected narrowly wide, following a sustained period of pressure.
The closing minutes of the match made for absorbing viewing for the packed stands as the two teams each had periods of dominance when they created moments of promise, without fully testing either of the goalkeepers, in part also because of some committed defending.