Orlando Pirates were left frustrated after not being able to turn their dominance into goals against AmaZulu on Sunday
Orlando Pirates and AmaZulu played to a goalless draw at the Orlando Stadium on Sunday afternoon, even though the Buccaneers dominated the majority of the game’s second half.
Pirates started the game with the knowledge that if they claimed the three points they would close the gap on their rivals Kazier Chiefs on top of the PSL table.
However AmaZulu’s defence were able to control the dominant Buccaneers and the game ended in a dour draw in Mzansi.
AmaZulu’s victory against Platinum Stars in the Telkom Knockout had given the league strugglers some confidence and they showed their renewed spirit in the opening stages of the clash.
Their quick passing and combination play in the midfield created early opportunities for Usuthu, but Pirates almost threatened with the powerful Collins Mbesuma and Sifiso Myeni leading the Buccaneers attack.
Mbesuma tried to curl in an effort in the 24th minute but his weak attempt was easily saved by Philani Zikalala. Pirates struggled to create any clear-cut chances as AmaZulu were showing good industry in the midfield, closing down their opponents well.
A first half which lacked creativity and action did not offer many talking points, as Usuthu were able to control the Buccaneers, who tried to hurt AmaZulu on the wings with their pace and crossing ability. Both sides went into the break hoping to create more opportunities in the second stanza.
Roger de Sa looked to make changes when he brought on Tlou Segolela to start the second half, hoping for a bit more of an attacking bite after what had been a rather toothless display during the first half.
Sifiso Myeni almost broke the deadlock in the 47th minute when he powered down the left wing into AmaZulu’s box with dangerous pace, and unleashed a strike which was well-saved by Zikalala.
Seconds later Marc van Heerden launched a free kick into the Buccaneer’s box which Ray Mahamutsa tried to clear, but almost deflected the ball into his own goal. Moeneeb Josephs was lucky to save the ball as it landed on his head and went over the crossbar.
After this early spurt of action, the game settled back into the same pattern experienced in the first half, as AmaZulu continued to defend well and stunt Pirates attacking play.
But Pirates began to pile on the pressure once more in the with half an hour left to play. Substitute Segolela received a pass on the left wing and decided to try and place his shot into the top right corner of the net.
He curled his strike which was heading in except Zikalala was once again up to the task with an acrobatic save. Momentum was shifting in Pirates favour and their domination deserved an opening goal.
More chances were created by the Buccaneers as AmaZulu’s defence seemed closed to cracking. However the introduction of Sifiso Vilakazi almost put the visitors into a shock lead as he received a cross and turned and shot, his strike missing the goal by inches.
Pirates received a free kick chance in the 81st minute in a dangerous area which Dane Klate looked set to take, but his shot did not have enough power or curl to find the target.
Sifiso Myeni had a fantastic chance in the dying embers of the match but his close range strike soared over the crossbar.
The game ended in a 0-0 draw, as Pirates were unable to close the gap on Chiefs. Roger de Sa’s men were left frustrated by their inability to take the three points they richly deserved.
AmaZulu would have been proud of their defensive display and seem to be regaining their confidence following their discouraging start to the season.