FC Platinum 0-0 Orlando Pirates: Bucs frustrated by Zimbabwean champions in Group B clash

The 1995 Champions League winners opened their Group B campaign with a draw in Zimbabwe

FC Platinum and Orlando Pirates played to a 0-0 draw in a Caf Champions League Group B clash which was played in Bulawayo.

The Platinum Boys were hoping to mark their group stage debut with a victory having eliminated Madagascar's CNaPS Sport and Congo-Brazzaville side AS Otoho in the qualifying rounds.

Experienced attacker Ali Sadiki, who was once on the books of one of the biggest clubs in the continent, TP Mazembe of DR Congo, started for coach Norman Mapeza's side.

On the other hand, Bucs were keen to mark their return to the group stage with a win having knocked out Light Stars of Seychelles and Namibian side African Stars in the qualifying rounds.

Mapeza's counterpart, Milutin Sredojevic made two changes to the team that faced Chippa United in a PSL match in midweek with Kudakwashe Mahachi replacing Vincent Pule in the starting line-up.

Zimbabwe international Mahachi was returning to the Barbourfields Stadium - home to his former club, Highlanders FC with Caf having advised that Platinum’s usual ground, Mandava does not meet minimum requirements for this stage the Champions League match.

Bucs were banking on their good away record in this season's Champions League having secured victories over African Stars and Light Stars on the road.

Although it was Pirates, who fired the first shot on target when Justin Shonga forced Platinum goalkeeper Petros Mhari into a great low save, the hosts were the better side in the opening stages of the game.

Mabokgwane had to pull off good saves to deny Kelvin Madzongwe and Sadiki as the Platinum Boys pushed for the opening goal of the encounter.

However, the visitors grew in confidence as the encounter progressed and they finished the first half the stronger of the two teams.

Platinum captain Mhari, who was in great form between the sticks, produced magnificent saves to deny Thembinkosi Lorch and Shonga in the latter stages of the first half.

The score was 0-0 at half-time thanks to some brilliant goalkeeping by Mhari and Mabokgwane.

The Platinum Boys continued to press Bucs after the restart with Devon Chafa pulling the strings in the middle of the park for the hosts.

Mapeza's side had scored the majority of their goals (66.7%) between the 60th minute and 70th minute in their Champions League matches and they upped the tempo during this period.

However, the Pirates defence looked solid with Happy Jele marshalling it and the likes of Chafa, and Sadiki were forced to try their luck from range, but they missed the target.

Micho introduced Augustine Mulenga and Pule in the closing stages of the game as the visitors looked to grab a late winning goal, but the hosts looked impenetrable at the back.

Platinum stood firm at the back - containing Pirates and ultimately, the match ended in a 0-0 draw on match-day one of Group B.

The other Group B encounter between Guinean champions Horoya and Tunisian giants Esperance de Tunis ended in a 1-1 in Conakry on Friday.