SuperSport United 0-0 Orlando Pirates: Wasteful Bucs fail to narrow Sundowns' lead

Bucs failed to narrow the lead at the top of the league standings, while relegation remains a concern for Matsatsantsa

SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates drew 0-0 in a PSL encounter which was played at the Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday night

The Buccaneers were eyeing their sixth consecutive victory in the league following a 2-1 home victory over a stubborn Bloemfontein Celtic side in their previous encounter last week Wednesday. 

Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic made one change to the team that faced Phunya Sele Sele with Mpho Makola replacing Marshall Munetsi in central midfield.

On the other hand, Ronwen Williams, Clayton Daniels and Reneilwe Letsholonyane all returned to the SuperSport starting line-up after being rested against Gor Mahia on Sunday.

Kaitano Tembo's side went into this encounter on the back of a narrow 1-0 defeat away to the Kenyan champions in the 2018 Caf Confederation Cup play-off round first-leg clash.

The match got off to a lively start with Matsatsantsa pressing the Buccaneers in search of an early goal which would have unsettled the visitors' defence.

Pirates goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane had to pull off a fine save to deny Thuso Phala, who was looking to hit the back of the net with a curling shot.

The hosts grew in confidence as the game progressed and they were awarded a free-kick in a promising area after Innocent Maela was fouled near the SuperSport box.

Luvuyo Memela stepped up as he looked to add to his tally of five goals, but he fired straight at SuperSport keeper Ronwen Williams, who made a comfortable save from the set-piece.

Justin Shonga, who was looking lively, should have made it 1-0 to Bucs after cutting through the Matsatsantsa defence, but he unleashed a tame shot which was easily saved by Williams.

The momentum was with the Soweto giants towards the end of the first half, and Makola hit the crossbar with a well-taken long-range shot which had beaten Williams hands down.

Pirates were just too unfortunate as they hit the post again with the SuperSport defence caught napping. 

This time Thembinkosi Lorch and Makola combined brilliantly, before the latter unleashed a shot which cannoned off the upright from inside the box as the hosts survived another scare.

SuperSport and Pirates were locked at 0-0 at the interval following a first half which was dominated by the away side.

The visitors continued their dominance after the half-time break and they came close to breaking the deadlock through their talisman Memela.

The former Ajax Cape Town academy product cut inside from the right hand side, before pulling the trigger and Williams produced a magnificent finger-tipping save.

Matsatsantsa were able to create a rare chance just after the hour-mark following a quick move, with the Buccaneers having pushed forward in numbers.

Teboho Mokoena found some space outside the visitors' box, before unleashing a low shot which was easily saved by Mpontshane, who has established himself as Pirates' first-choice keeper.

The former Nathi Lions shot-stopper nearly handed SuperSport a goal when he came out for a routine save, only for the ball to through his hands before rolling inches wide of his goal-posts.

Micho then made a change - pulling out Lorch for Augustine Mulenga, who had netted the winning goal against Celtic, as the Buccaneers searched for a late winner.

Bucs pressed Matsatsantsa in the closing stages of the game, but Mulenga and Memela were wasteful as they dragged their shots wide of the target from good positions.

SuperSport managed to contain Pirates in the dying minutes of the game and ultimately, the two teams settled for a share of the spoils.

The draw sees Pirates remain second on the league standings - four points behind log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, while SuperSport also remained 14th on the table - a point above the relegation play-off spot.