Orlando Pirates’ quest for continental football next season took a blow after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Swallows FC at Dobsonville Stadium.

The Buccaneers began on the front foot and with four minutes gone pushed forward as Kabelo Dlamini’s through ball into the box was cutt off by former Pirates defender Ntsikelelo Nyauza. Relebohile Mofokeng then had a go from a fair distance out, but his shot was straight at Daniel Akpeyi.

The Sea Robbers were peppering the Swallows’ goal and Mofokeng had another go but this time it went wide. Tshegofatso Mabasa came close in the 21st minute when he rose to meet Dlamini’s delivery, but the effort went wide.

Pirates were their own worst enemies as they gifted the Birds the lead against the run of play with almost half an hour gone. Goalkeeper Sipho Chaine miscued a bobbly backpass which went straight to Lindokuhle Mtshali, who found the bottom corner via the fingertips of Chaine.

On the stroke of half-time, Bucs winger Deon Hotto was played in by Patrick Maswanganyi and unleashed a shot which flew narrowly wide of the Swallows goal. Five minutes after the break, Swallows keeper Daniel Akpeyi was forced to dive to his left to deal with a long-range shot from Miguel Timm.

Pirates equalised in the 53rd minute. Patrick Maswanganyi provided the equaliser as he made a late run into the box to turn an excellent cutback from Thabiso Lebitso into the back of the net. One almost became two when Tapelo Xoki roseto meet a cross from Dlamini, but his header was off target.

There were no further notable attempts created as the match petered out to a draw with the sides having to settle for a share of the spoils.