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Orlando Pirates v Baroka Match Report, 2021/12/02

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Orlando Pirates 0-0 Baroka FC: Bucs miss chance to close gap on Kaizer Chiefs
23:09 SAST 2021/12/02
Athenkosi Dlala, Baroka FC & Collins Makgaka, Orlando Pirates, December 2021
Makgaka and his teammates were frustrated by Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele's resolute defending at Orlando Stadium

Orlando Pirates missed an opportunity to close the gap on their archrivals Kaizer Chiefs when they drew 0-0 with Baroka FC in a PSL match on Thursday night.

Despite having scored in the 2-0 win over Liberian champions LPRC Oilers in the Caf Confederation Cup match on Sunday, Tshegofatso Mabasa was named among the substitutes by Pirates co-interim coaches Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids.

Olisa Ndah made his return to the starting line-up after missing the clash against the Oilers as he was not registered in the continental competition. Bucs were looking to make it two wins in a row in the PSL having thrashed Stellenbosch FC 3-0 last week.

Pirates would have been aware of the threat that Evidence Makgopa possessed as the towering centre forward led the attack for Baroka. Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele were looking to snap their seven-match winless run and also claim their first league win over Bucs.  The Buccaneers were direct in the opening exchanges with Kwame Peprah leading their attack. The Ghanaian marksman's shot was deflected onto Fortune Makaringe's path and the midfiielder's left-footed shot was superbly saved by goalkeeper Oscarine Makaringe. 

Having grabbed a brace in Bucs' win over Stellies, Deon Hotto should have scored after he ran onto a long ball from Ndah and rounded a rushing Masuluke, but somehow he dragged his shot wide with the goal gaping from close range. 

Masuluke was a busy man as he pulled off a fine save to deny Ben Motshwari after the diminutive midfielder had unleashed a thunderous shot and his saves ensured that the score was 0-0 at the interval.

Siyabonga Mpontshane, who was untested in the first half, was called into action just after the restart. The Pirates keeper tipped Nhlanhla Ngaga's curling attempt from a free-kick onto the crossbar and the hosts cleared their lines.

Ncikazi and Davids introduced Kabelo Dlamini just after the hour-mark with the left-footed attacker having scored a late winning goal in Bucs' previous home league game which they won 2-1 against Sekhukhune United on November 2. 

The Buccaneers upped the tempo in the final minutes of the game, but they found it difficult to get in behind the Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele's tight defence. They resorted to long-range shots which saw attempts from Collins Makgaka, Makaringe and Dlamini being blocked in the box.

Baroka seemed ready to settle for a draw as they were defending in numbers which frustrated the Pirates attackers in the closing proceedings and ultimately, the match ended in a 0-0 draw following a second-half which had no clear cut chances.

The result saw Pirates remain seventh on the league standings - three points behind second-placed Chiefs ahead of the second-leg clash with the Oilers on Sunday. Baroka moved up to the 14th spot on the log and they will face Swallows on December 8.