Orlando Pirates 0-0 African Stars: The Buccaneers frustrated by stubborn Samba Boys in Soweto
The 1995 Champions League winners were held by the tournament debutants in Soweto

Orlando Pirates and African Stars drew 0-0 in the 2018/19 Caf Champions League first round first-leg match at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.

The Buccaneers were looking to grab a first-leg advantage having reached the first round after eliminating Light Stars of Seychelles in the preliminary round.

Milutin Sredojevic made five changes to the team that faced Free State Stars in a PSL match in midweek with Linda Mntambo keeping his place in the starting line-up.

The Samba Boys, who are the reigning Namibian Premier League champions, were keen to stun their much-fancied hosts having defeated Comoros' Volcan Club in the preliminary round.

Newly-appointed Stars head coach Bobby Samaria named experienced midfielder Ronald Ketjiere in the starting line-up.

The Buccaneers dominated the match from the start with Mntambo pulling the strings in the middle of the park for the home side.

The lanky midfielder, who scored twice against Light Stars in the previous round, had a chance to break the deadlock following a well-worked free-kick.

Justin Shonga played a free-kick into the visitors' box and Mntambo placed his effort narrowly wide of the target with the Stars defence caught ball watching.

Former University of Pretoria midfielder Ketjiere was working tirelessly in midfield - protecting the visitors' defence and Bucs were forced to try their luck from range.

Abbubaker Mobara pushed forward and the Pirates defender unleashed a shot from range, but his effort was easily saved by Stars goalkeeper Ratanda Mbazuvara.

The four-time Namibian champions were happy to sit back and defend too deep, and the Buccaneers struggled to create chances for their strikers.

The score was 0-0 at half-time between Pirates and Stars.

The Soweto giants continued to dominate possession after the restart with Shonga making some good runs into the Samba Boys' box.

The Zambia international should have handed Bucs the lead when a cross from Vincent Pule found the former unmarked in the visitor's box, but he placed his header wide of the target.

Sredojevic then made a double substitution - introducing Augustine Mulenga and Thembinkosi Lorch as the Buccaneers looked to pile pressure on Stars and break the deadlock.

Bucs continued to probe and Vincent Pule's header from Innocent Maela's cross was brilliantly saved by Mbazuvara as the shot-stopper kept the hosts at bay.

Shonga then unleashed a shot which Mbazuvara spilt and the ball went out for a corner kick as the Samba Boys survived a scare in the closing stages of the game.

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Pirates launched late attacks in search of a late winning goal, but Stars stood firm at the back and ultimately, the match ended in a 0-0 draw.

The second-leg encounter will be played at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek, Namibia on Saturday, 22 December 2018.

The winner on aggregate will advance to the group stages of the continental competition.

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