The action came off the pitch as Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns staff clashed before the game, in the tunnel and on the sidelines but the match itself failed to live up to expectation as it ended goalless at Loftus Versfeld in their Absa Premiership clash.
Coming into the game Pirates were handed the tag of favourites due to their good recent form which has seen them rise to the top of the Absa Premiership log. During this run Pirates have won three and drawn two of their last five league matches but had won their last four matches across all competitions as they look to begin be realising their potential under Milutin Sredojevic.
Sundowns on the other hand may have shared an identical league form over the last five games with Pirates but defeat in the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals to Baroka combined with their inconsistent performances and struggles in front on goal has had Pitso Mosimane plead with the Masandawana to be patient with his team. The Brazilians sitting third on the log but still have three games in hand on Pirates, adding an extra dimension to the encounter.
Last season these teams played out to a 3-1 result in both encounters, with Downs winning 3-1 at the Orlando Stadium before the Sea Robbers returned the favour by winning with the same score line at Loftus Versfeld.
Pirates started the game well keeping early possession in the Sundowns final third, but it was the home side who created the first opening as Jeremy Brockie was played in after counter attack, but the New Zelander’s strike with the outside of his boot flew wide.
Mosimane’s men then suffered a big blow as former Pirates man Andile Jalie was forced off with a hamstring injury after 13 minutes, Tiyani Mabunda came on as his replacement.
Pirates then created an opening of their own but Thembinkosi Lorch had his tame strike easily saved by the returning Dennis Onyango in the Sundowns goal.
The main taking point from the first half occurred 10 minutes before the break, however, it took place on the side-lines as fan inexplicably invaded the Bucs technical area to confront Pirates assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena, who of course used to ply his trade at the Chloorkop based club.
The incident sparked a scuffle between the two benches as Mokwena was clearly incensed by the lack of security.
After a lengthy break the game finally got back underway and despite the nine minutes added on neither side could find the breakthrough goal, with the heat clearly having an impact on the tempo of the game.
0-0 at the break with neither team living up to the pre-match hype.
Both sides came out with loads of intent in the second half, with Lorch and Vincent Pule looking to test Onyango from range before Lebohang Maboe and Gaston Sirino responded with efforts of their own.
Both teams were struggling to create any opening of note as the pace of the game was being severely affected by the heat with both sets of players were clearly beginning to tire as time wore on.
In the end a rather uneventful second half ended 0-0 with the title chasers having to settle for a point a piece.
Photo: Aubrey Kgakatsi/BackpagePix
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