SuperSport, Pirates draw again
George Maluleka and Andile Jali (Backpage)
Polokwane - The second instalment of the SuperSport United v Orlando Pirates trilogy ended in another goalless draw at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday night.
Having drawn 0-0 in their MTN8 semi-final first leg match on Sunday, perhaps it is no surprise that the two teams again cancelled each other out in this Absa Premiership encounter. They will meet in the second leg of the semi-final at Orlando Stadium on Saturday evening.
SuperSport created the first clear scoring opportunity, with Franklyn Cale teeing up Thabiso Nkoana in the penalty area in the eighth minute, but the youngster blasted his shot over the crossbar.
The hosts threatened again on the 20 minute mark when George Maluleka hit a shot on target from a 25 metre free kick, but goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa
pulled off a good diving save to turn the ball away for a corner kick.
United looked dangerous from both open play and set pieces, using the height of Mor Diouf, Nathan Paulse and co. to dominate from dead-ball situations against their notably shorter opponents.
Pirates gradually worked their way into the game after SuperSport’s early dominance and began to find some joy down the flanks. An attack originating down the right wing handed Andile Jali
a shooting chance from just outside the box on 34 minutes, but he ballooned the effort over the crossbar.
Striker Collins Mbesuma, making his first start for Bucs, also had a couple of half chances in the dying minutes of the first half, but the teams went to the interval with the game locked at 0-0.
The deadlock was very nearly broken by Pirates just past the hour mark when a well-struck free kick from Mpho Makola rebounded off the crossbar, with goalkeeper Ronwen Williams beaten all ends up.
Williams was replaced on the 70 minute mark by Rowen Fernandez
, having succumbed to a head/neck injury he suffered in a collision with Mbesuma early in the second half.
In the 74th minute United wasted a good chance to take the lead, with Bevan Fransman shooting wide from a rebound after Meyiwa had palmed away Cale’s long range shot from a free kick.
Seven minutes later Nathan Paulse wasted two free headers in quick succession as Bucs’ defence began to look a little ragged.
Yet it was the visitors who finished the stronger in added time and substitute Thulasizwe Mbuyane
saw his 92nd minute shot well saved by Fernandez.