Bidvest Wits hold leaders Pirates
Orlando Pirates were held to a goalless draw by Bidvest Wits at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night but still went two points clear at the top of the Absa Premiership.
The Buccaneers had the chance to open up a four-point gap thanks to Mamelodi Sundowns’ defeat to Maritzburg earlier in the evening, but a determined rearguard effort from the Clever Boys ensured that the race for the league title remains a tight one.
Pirates dominated most of the game but created few clear chances thanks to some brilliant defending from the visitors, for whom centre-backs Brad Phillips and Timothy Batabaire were absolutely faultless.
The first half saw little in the way of goalmouth action as both sides struggled to find any kind of attacking rhythm. Other than a couple of half chances, there were no real attacking highlights to speak of.
Wits looked lively down the left through youngster Asive Langwe, who often timed his runs just right to get on the blindside of the Pirates central defenders but was usually let down by poor service from out wide.
As for Pirates, their wingers Tlou Segolela and Daine Klate looked their best route to goal, but the Clever Boys doubled up on them whenever they had the ball and generally did a great job in keeping them quiet.
The best opening of the half went the way of Tokelo Rantie in the 10th minute, but his effort on the turn was neither shot nor cross and didn’t trouble Energy Murambadoro in the Bidvest Wits goal.
The second half followed much the same pattern as the first: Pirates bossed possession but struggled to create chances. Even the introduction of substitutes Dikgang Mabalane, Rudolf Bester and Thulasizwe Mbuyane did little to trouble the Wits backline.
The Clever Boys almost stole the game at the death when Bhongo Jayiya squared a ball for Katlego Pule to shoot, but the youngster put his effort just wide of Moeneeb Josephs’ right-hand post.
Bucs countered with a chance of their own for Bester, but Phillips was able to clear his goal-bound with relative ease after Energy Murambadoro had come off his line somewhat rashly to try and beat the attacker to a long ball.
Orlando Pirates 0
Bidvest Wits 0
Pirates: Josephs; Nzunga, Sangweni, Lekgwathi, Matlaba, Segolela (Mabalane 62’), Manyisa, Jali, Klate, McCarthy (Mbuyane 80’), Rantie (Bester 65’)
Wits: Murambadoro; Mngomezulu, Batabaire, Phillips, Phungwayo, Pule, Chintu, Sib. Vilakazi (Timm 73’), Jayiya, Langwe (Tshabangu 82’), Koapeng (Sibande 90+3’)
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