Orlando Pirates’ woes in front of goal continued following a goalless draw with Bidvest Wits at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.
Thembinkosi Lorch and Justin Shonga remain suspended from Josef Zinnbauer’s squad after breaking lockdown protocols and, meanwhile, Sifiso Hlanti returned to Gavin Hunt’s squad after serving his suspension.
The Clever Boys found their rhythm early in the game and nearly opened the scoring in the 13th minute after Keegan Ritchie found space before unleashing a shot from the side of the box but blazed his effort over the crossbar.
Pirates had a chance of their own eight minutes later when Vincent Pule produced a thunderous strike after cutting inside, but Ricardo Goss made an excellent save to deny the Buccaneers attacker.
Wits nearly gifted Pirates a goal on the half-hour mark when Lorenzo Gordinho’s backpass to Goss was intercepted by Pule, who blasted his strike into the side-netting from a tight angle.
Goss came to his side’s rescue minutes later when he produced a low save to keep out Paseka Mako’s shot after great interplay from Pule, Luvuyo Memela and Ben Motshwari.
The Clever Boys nearly broke the deadlock with five minutes later after Zitha Macheke picked out Haashim Domingo, whose header narrowly missed the bottom corner.
The game went into half time locked at 0-0 with neither side able to break the deadlock, despite numerous chances in front of goal.
Wits came out with intent in the second half and should have taken the lead, but Domingo hit the upright after going one on one with Wayne Sandilands.
Zinnbauer made his first change in the 54th minute as Kabelo Dlamini came on to replace Xolani Mlambo in the midfield, before making a double substitution when Fortune Makaringe and Memela were taken off for Nkanyiso Zungu and Linda Mntambo 10 minutes later.
At the other end, Hunt opted for fresh legs a minute later when Bienvenu Eva Nga and Thabang Monare was brought on in place of Domingo and Nange, respectively.
Goss made another good save to keep his side in the game with 10 minutes left to play after keeping out Dlamini’s effort from distance.
The Buccaneers opted to make a late change in attack as they went in search of the winning goal when they introduced Tshegofatso Mabaso to replace Gabadinho Mhango up front.
However, neither side were able to find the winning goal as the game finished with both sides sharing the spoils at Emirates Airline Park.
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