Orlando Pirates were held to a goalless draw by Cape Town City ahead of their Soweto derby clash against rivals Kaizer Chiefs.
Cape Town — Orlando Pirates warmed up for the big Soweto derby against arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs with a goalless draw against Cape Town City on Wednesday evening.
The home team dominated the possession stakes and created plenty of scoring opportunities, but could not find a way past the impressive Hugo Marques in the City goal.
The Buccaneers intentions were clear from the outset with Hugo called on early in the piece to thwart a powerful drive from Bandile Shandu.
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The Angolan international was easily the busier of the two goalkeepers in the opening exchanges with Pirates converting the possession dominance into chances.
Marques was thrust into a fine save yet again at his near post after an incisive pass from the right wing slipped Deon Hotto into the danger zone.
The pressure exerted by Pirates seemed to tell on the City defence when the visitors gifted the Buccaneers a gilt-edged opportunity to open the scoring just after the half hour mark.
Instead of clearing their lines from a place kick, City central defender Taariq Fielies put Hugo under immense pressure with a back pass inside the five-yard box.
With Pirates employing a high press, Hugo’s attempted clearance was blocked inside the penalty area, which allowed Kabelo Dlamini to play the ball across the City goal into the path of Thabang Monare. The central midfielder let City off the hook by blasting his left-footed shot way off target.
City though seemed intent to play Russian roulette at the back with the defensive unit and Hugo finding themselves in an almighty mess just moments later again. They only just managed to survive this second scare with Hugo needing to pull off some fancy footwork through a silky back heel to avert the danger.
With Pirates failing to press home their advantage, it allowed City to find a bit of rhythm towards the closing stages of the half as the visitors strung together a couple of chances shortly before the interval.
It would have been grossly unfair on the balance of play had City found the opener and Pirates had their ‘keeper Siyabonga Mpontshane to thank for preserving parity.
The first save was from point-blank range when the ball fell at the feet of Tashreeq Morris. It required a poacher’s finish, but the lanky striker only managed to shoot straight at Mpontshane.
Thabo Nodada did no such thing when he unleashed a pile drive from outside the box that required Mpontshane to throw himself acrobatically to his left before finger-tipping the ball over the crossbar.
The second half continued much the same way with Pirates continuing to threaten the City goal, but unable to create anything incisive.
Both defences ultimately held firm with Pirates left feeling they left two points out there on the Orlando Stadium turf, especially when Zakhele Lepasa got into a tangle with the ball at his feet just two minutes before the final whistle with the City goal at his mercy.