The first half was a dreary affair, with very few efforts on goal. Sundowns played a strangely defensive game, deliberately sitting deep in defence and allowing Pirates to have all the possession they liked, though the Buccaneers rarely posed much of a threat going forward.
Perhaps the biggest talking point of the first half was a blatant
kick from Sundowns’ James Mayinga on Happy Jele. The former Moroka
Swallows left-back was unimpressed with a rash challenge from Jele and
lashed out in response.
It was really a red card offence but the match
officials failed to spot it.
Perhaps the best effort on goal in the first half came from Teko
Modise, the Pirates No.11 whipping a free kick just over Brian
The Sundowns goalkeeper made two further saves just
before the break, though both were pretty straightforward.
The match continued to underwhelm until Pirates introduced Gert
Schalkwyk and Sundowns threw on Mabhuti Khenyeza to partner Katlego
Mphela up front.
The substitutes started to bring the game to life but
on 70 minutes. Mere brought down Mlungisi Gumbi with a crude challenge
and was shown a red card.
From them on Sundowns simply sat back in defence, determined to hold
out for the draw.
Pirates were unable to find a way through the
Brazilians back line and Baloyi had only one notable save to make,
punching away Joseph Kamwendo’s injury time shot that looked destined
for the top corner.