Orlando Pirates recorded their second successive 0-0 draw in the Premier Soccer League when they drew with Chippa United at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Co-coaches Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids named an unchanged team with the Buccaneers having defeated Simba of Tanzania in the Caf Confederation Cup clash on Sunday.
Abel Mabaso was hoping to impress against the Chilli Boys once again having scored and provided an assist as Bucs claimed a 3-1 win in the first round league game in Port Elizabeth last September.
On the other hand, Pirates loanee Sandile Mthethwa was handed a starting berth by Chippa coach Kurt Lentjies, while Sammy Seabi also started having netted the Chili Boys' winning goal against Stellenbosch FC on April 17. The Eastern Cape-based side was looking to secure their first victory over the Buccaneers since May 2016.
Pirates started the match brightly and they created good goalscoring opportunities with Llyod Kazapua being the busier of the two goalkeepers. The Namibia international produce a fantastic double save to deny Terrence Dzvukamanja from close range before coming out rushing to block Bandile Shandu's effort from a one-on-one situation.
The Buccaneers were determined to break the deadlock having failed to score in the first half of their match with Simba at the same venue. Innocent Maela decided to pull the trigger from range and Kazapua failed to hold on to the ball at the first attempt. However, Kazapua recovered well and gathered the ball before Thembinkosi Lorch could pounce and shoot at goal.
The Chilli Boys created a rare chance towards the end of the first half, but Jenovane September tried his luck from range and his curling shot was comfortably gathered by keeper Richard Ofori. The score was 0-0 during the half-time break with Pirates having dominated the first half without scoring.
Pirates continued where they left off in the first half as they exerted pressure on the Chippa defence with a lot of long balls and crosses being played into the visitors' box. However, Kazapua and his defence dealt well with the aerial balls which frustrated the Bucs attackers and that led to the hosts' technical team making a change.
Ncikazi and Davids introduced Tshegofatso Mabasa, who came off the bench to score during the penalty shoot against Simba as the Soweto giants claimed a 4-3 win. The former Bloemfontein Celtic marksman tried to make an immediate impact, but his goal-bound shot was bravely blocked by eventual Man of the Match Mthethwa from inside the visitors' box.
With the attackers failing to find the back of the net, Ntsikelelo Nyauza decided to try his luck from range, but his attempt was easily saved by Kazapua. The best chance of the game then fell for Lorch, who was through on goal, but he was magnificently denied by Kazapua with the former Baroka FC keeper having one of his best matches in the current season.
At the other end, Chippa threatened for the first time in the second half following a promising run by Seabi who then delivered a top-notch cross for Bienvenu Eva Nga whose header was brilliantly tipped onto the crossbar by Ofori and the hosts cleared their lines. Kazapua was finally beaten in the last minute of the game, but Nyauza's headed effort hit the crossbar and the match ended in a 0-0 draw.
The draw saw Pirates move up to the fourth spot in the league standings - leapfrogging their arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs and they are now five points behind second-placed Royal AM as the race to finish second and qualify for next season's Caf Champions League continues.
Pirates will now take on TS Galaxy in a league match on Monday.