15 April, 2023
Orlando Pirates Reserves were made to settle for a point in Saturday’s DStv Diski Challenge fixture against Marumo Gallants, which finished goalless.
Heading into the do-or-die fixture held at Dobsonville Stadium, the opportunity to move up from third in the standings beckoned for the young Buccaneers, who had emerged victorious in their three most recent games.
They were however starved of clear goal scoring opportunities for the best part of the opening 45 minutes, with the hosts comfortable with sitting deep and absorbing the pressure.
Left-back Siyabonga Ndlozi had an opportunity to open the scoring in the 20th minute when he met an inviting ball into the box delivered by Mohau Nkota, but directed his header over the crossbar.
Pirates almost went ahead rather fortuitously in the 28th minute when a seemingly tame cross from Jabulani Mokone forced an error from Gallants goalkeeper Bareng Ledwaba, who was rescued by the upright as he spilled the ball towards the goal line.
Ndlozi had a shot blocked just seconds later, with Sonwabo Khumalo collecting the rebound and drawing a save from Ledwaba.
Chances dried out in the closing minutes of the first half, with striker Mehluleli Maphumulo the only Bucs player to place a shot on target in the 10 minutes leading to the break when he had his effort from close range blocked by the Gallants shot stopper.
The second half promised to be a more lively affair when Maphumulo and Nkota both created problems for the home side’s defence five minutes after the restart.
The Bucs Reserves had a rare scare eight minutes later as Gallants attacker Sibusiso Nkosi managed to beat goalkeeper Allesandro Du Plessis, only to be denied by the woodwork.
Maphumulo kept probing at the other end, unleashing a stinging shot which was kept out by the defence in the 70th minute, before Jabulani Mokone followed up with an attempt of his own, forcing a save from Ledwaba.
It was one-way traffic as the clock wound down, with the Buccaneers dominating proceedings as each of Nkota and Maphumulo had opportunities, but failed to find a way past Ledwaba.
It proved to be a frustrating afternoon for the Bucs Reserves, who were held to a stalemate which kept them in third place in the standings.
Pirates Reserves XI Du Plessis, Ngiba, Kabini, Mokone, Ndlozi, Mothapo, Khumalo, Moremi, Bule (Ndaba 53’), Nkota, Maphumulo.
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