Chippa hold on against Pirates
Chippa's Msekeli Mvalo (Backpage)
Cape Town - Orlando Pirates lost ground at the top of the Premiership table when they settled for a goalless stalemate against Chippa United at the Athlone Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The match saw a return to action for Bucs striker Benni McCarthy, who started the game quietly.
All around him, though, was plenty of action as both sides made energetic starts to the game.Video highlights: Chippa United v Orlando Pirates
In front of a near-capacity crowd, there was plenty of entertainment at both ends of the field as both sides attacked with intent.
Early chances saw Petrus Ngebo having a shot on goal blocked, while at the other end of the park Manti Moholo was denied a strike when his shot from close range was pushed onto the bar by Daouda Kassaly.
Both teams then had shots as Larry Cohen and Thabo Matlaba went close, but off target from some distance.
The best chance of the opening stanza came just after the half-hour mark when William Twala was allowed a free run at goal.
But instead of shooting, Twala, on loan from Bucs, tried to pick out Ngebo and the opportunity came to nought.
There was another decent chance for the Chilli Boys just before the half-time break as Msekelei Mvalo headed goalwards, only to see Daine Klate clearing off the line.
Chippa were not without their opportunities after the restart, with Cohen going wide from range and Ngebo failing to make use of Brent Carelse's excellent through ball.
The Soweto giants, however, began to get the upper hand as they attacked with renewed intensity.
McCarthy appeared set to make his comeback from injury with a goal when he pulled the trigger on the hour mark, but Kassaly made a fantastic save to scoop the ball over the bar.
In the other goal, Senzo Meyiwa was not to be outdone as he made two diving saves to push Happy Jele's backpass out for a corner before flying through the air to save James Okwuoso's thunderous long-range effort.
Bucs, who remained second in the standings, three points behind Kaizer Chiefs, pushed hard for a late goal, but could only create one clear-cut chance.
Kassaly saved brilliantly from Oupa Manyisa as the home side picked up a valuable point.
Chippa: Kassaly, Moonsamy, Tomanyane, Mvalo, Okwuoso, Sali, Cohen, Alexander (Brown 75‘), Twala (Nqothani 75’), Carelse (Mbenyane 86‘), Ngebo
Pirates: Meyiwa, Jele, Legwathi, Matlaba, Gcaba, Moholo, Klate, Ntshumayelo, Masuku (Segolela 84’), McCarthy (Mbesuma 74‘), Mabena (Jali 78’)