Bucs Reserves Title Aspirations Dashed

Orlando Pirates Reserves were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw in their DStv Diski Challenge clash against Richards Bay at Tsakane Stadium on Saturday.

The result saw the Soweto Giants’ charge for the title come to a halt, with the gap between them and SuperSport United extending to four points ahead of the final round of fixtures.

The contest kicked off with what was a mostly subdued opening half, bar for a couple of chances in the opening exchanges as the men from KwaZulu-Natal started off the brighter of the two sides.

The first of these came when the Bucs defence was caught out inside the first five minutes, with goalkeeper Siyabonga Dladla left exposed before his upright came to the rescue.

He was again heavily involved in the eighth minute when he made a superb double save from a set piece as the hosts continued to pile the pressure.

It took the Buccaneers a while to kick into gear, and they had their first real opportunity midway through the opening half when Mohau Nkota found space on the left before unleashing a shot which failed to trouble keeper Ntokozo Mlotshwa.

Opportunities at goal dried up thereafter despite the Buccaneers’ ascendancy, as the hosts sat back and absorbed all the pressure.

Pirates continued to probe and could have taken the lead on the stroke of halftime through Mohau Nkota, who fought off attention from the defence before unleashing a shot from outside the box, which found a perfectly-positioned Mlotshwa.

It was a different story in the second half as the visitors hit their stride right from the restart, with their first shot at goal coming from the boot of Njabulo Mndebele, who was nicely teed up by Sonwabo Khumalo before directing his shot off target.

There was a similar outcome in the 58th minute with Nkota doing well to snatch on a loose ball inside the penalty area, but his shot at goal also sailed wide.

Khumalo came even closer 10 minutes later, with a long-range shot that fizzed just over the crossbar, and was again narrowly off target moments later when he was played in by Mndebele.

It remained one-way traffic throughout the second period, with the Bucs Reserves determined to take their chase for silverware into the final weekend of the competition.

Fullback Siyabonga Ndlozi drew a save from Mlotshwa with another long-range effort as the clock ticked, followed by Jabulani Mokone, who brought out the best of the Richards Bay shot stopper deep into injury time.

That proved to be the game’s last real chance, with the  Pirates Reserves managing just one point as their title hopes slipped away.

Pirates Reserves XI: Dladla, Kabini, Ngiba, Mokone, Ndlozi, Molepo, Moremi (Mndebele 42’), Khumalo, Mdunge, Nkota, Maphumulo (Khoto 61’)

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