Bucs and United settle for tame draw
Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United, the only teams to have won the Premiership title in the last five seasons, played to a dull 0-0 draw in the second round of league fixtures in Polokwane on Wednesday night.
“We need to have more rhythm,” Pirates coach Augusto Palacios said after the game.
“I think we played well today, but we need to score.” Pirates were the better side in a tame first half, surging forward shortly ahead of the break.
Andile Jali fired wide to the right after connecting with a cross from Mpho Makola in the 34th minute, but their best chances were created in the dying stages before halftime.
Collins Mbesuma had perhaps the best opportunity for the Buccaneers with three minutes left in the opening period, but he slipped on the edge of the area and his left-footed effort cut wide to the left.
Seconds later, Ayanda Gcabi fluffed two shots from close range, with the United defence working hard to keep out the visitors.
Gcabi’s first strike was blocked by Bevan Fransman and his second, off the rebound, was cleared off the line by Roscoe Pietersen.
Pirates were again on the prowl in the second stanza, with Thabo Matlaba hitting the crossbar from a free kick in the 61st minute.
With Bucs proving wayward on attack, SuperSport eventually hit back, but Franklyn Cale’s shot from a set piece was parried away by Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa and Fransman missed narrowly wide to the right off the rebound.
Seven minutes later, United came close again, with time running out, when Nathan Paulse, swamped by the Pirates defence, failed to make use of a close-range pass from Cale and sent a header wide to the right.
Seemingly desperate to break the deadlock in injury time, both sides created chances but neither made use of their opportunities as they settled for a point a piece.
Pirates and United, who played to a goalless draw in the first leg, meet again for the third time in a week when they square up in the return leg MTN8 cup semi-final at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
“Rubbish. Both sides were poor,” SuperSport coach Gavin Hunt said after the league clash.
“I think two games has already taken its toll, so I’m not sure what’s going to happen on Saturday.”