Orlando Pirates remain top of the Caf Confederation Cup Group A standings, despite playing out to a goalless draw with ES Stetif at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday.
Josef Zinnbauer handed Siyabonga Mpontshane a place in the starting lineup ahead of Wayne Sandilands, while Thulani Hlatshwayo and Vincent Pule returned the squad.
The visitors got off to a bright start and engaged Pirates keeper Siyabonga Mpontshane in the fourth minute when he was forced to gather a threatening ball into the box.
Deon Hotto had a go at goal in the 14th minute hoping to score the opening goal, but the attacker’s first time shot lacked the necessary power to trouble the Stetif goalkeeper.
Pirates were forced to make a substitution in the 22nd minute when Wayne Sandilands came on to replace the injured Mpontshane.
The home side continued to dominate and came close to taking the lead in the 35th minute after lovely interplay between Tshegofatso Mabaso and Vincent Pule, before the latter delivered a cross which was met by a Hotto header, looping over the bar.
Neither side could break the deadlock in the first half with the score level at 0-0 at half time.
Pirates had the best chance to take the lead early in the second half but Mabasa’s flick from close range somehow looped over the crossbar.
Stetif responded with a chance of their own in the 50th minute but Sandilands made a comfortable save to deny Mohammed Amoura at the near post, before Pule leapt the highest to head the ball towards goal but just missed the target at the other end.
Stetif had a chance to get the front foot in the game just after the hour mark but saw their free kick on the edge of the penalty area saved by Sandilands.
The visitors enjoyed a period of sustained attack after 70 minutes of play but could not break down the Pirates defence.
Zinnbauer made a double substitution in the 80th minute as Linda Mntambo and Gabadinho Mhango came on to replace Abel Mabaso and Mabasa, respectively.
Stetif had a late chance to snatch all three points from Pirates but saw their effort roll inches wide of target as the game ended goalless after 90 minutes.
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