University of Pretoria walked away with a valuable point against Orlando Pirates at the FNB Stadium on Saturday night
Orlando Pirates started this encounter with their most experienced starting eleven against Tuks, with Tlou Segolela making a rare start for the champions and Collins Mbesuma returning to the starting line-up in the absence of Takesure Chinyama.
The home side surged forward looking for an early goal and had their first shot on target inside the first five minutes through Thabo Matlaba who looked for a similar spectacular goal he scored for Bafana about a week ago, but he couldn’t connect well with his left foot.
AmaTuks however, added numbers in the midfield, as they looked to contain Andile Jali-Oupa Manyisa combination and played long balls to their lone striker Mame Niang who often needed the support of his teammates.
Pirates thought they have won a penalty in the 21st minute when Mbesuma fell inside the box, but referee Robert Smith waved played on to the frustration of the home side fans in the stands.
The visitors then threaten Pirates goals in the 26th minute when Niang got into the box, but Ayanda Gcaba recovered in time to deflect Niang’s shot for a corner.
Daine Klate nearly opened the scoring in the 44th minute, after some brilliant individual work outside the box, but Tuks keeper Arubi parried his floating shot for a Pirates corner, as both teams remained deadlocked at halftime.
Pirates started the second half with more determination and put pressure on Tuks defence in the opening five minutes and should have at least taken the lead, but Mbesuma failed to meet Segolela’s header inside the six yards.
Tuks had their real chance of the game towards the hour mark when Junior Sibande towed Pirates defenders and found himself with only Senzo Meyiwa to beat, but the Pirates keeper made himself big to deny Sibande his second goal of the season.
Pirates bench immediately introduced Benni McCarthy for Mbesuma, as they continued to search for that crucial opener, but the former Blackburn man never really made any impact.
The home side managed to put the ball in the net with 10 minutes remaining, after some desperate defending from Tuks, but Happy Jele was in an offside position and the goal couldn’t count.
Pirates continued to push forward and it was Jele whose long range shot hit the framework with Tuks keeper Arubi in no man’s land with less than five minutes remaining. Meyiwa produced a fine save in the stoppage time to keep the score at 0-0 after 90 minutes.