Orlando Pirates were held to a 0-0 draw by 10-man Richards Bay in a DStv Premiership match played at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Buccaneers played the second half of the game with a numerical advantage following a sending off for Siyanda Msani, but were unable to find a way past a resilient Natal Rich Boyz defence – which has now kept seven clean sheets and shipped just three goals in their opening 10 Premiership outings.
The result saw Bay stay in second spot on 18 points – one behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, having now played a game more. Pirates are two places and three points further back in fourth.
The hosts made a bright start and got Deon Hotto free down the left of the penalty area a couple of times in the opening 15 minutes, but Bay were able to scramble back in defence and cut out the danger.
The KwaZulu-Natal team began to find their rhythm after the quarter-hour mark and offered up a threat from the flanks and set pieces – most notably when Somila Ntsundwana got on the end of a free kick delivery from Siyanda Msani, but he put his header wide of the mark on 32 minutes.
A short while later Pirates had a great chance to break the deadlock when Bandile Shandu broke free down the right and was faced with only Jamal Magoola to beat, but he unselfishly tried to square for Zakhele Lepasa, only for his pass to be intercepted by the goalkeeper.
The first half ended on a sour note for the Natal Rich Boyz, as Msani was deservedly shown a straight red card for a reckless, studs-up challenge on Olisa Ndah. This left the game at 0-0 at the interval, but with the hosts enjoying a numerical advantage.
Pirates predictably dominated possession from early in the second half, but they initially found chances hard to come by against a determined and resilient Bay.
The hosts had to wait until just before the hour mark for their first major threat of the second half, with a free kick picking out Ndah at the back post, but his lunging effort was comfortably saved by Magoola.
The Buccaneers had the ball in the back of the net on 73 minutes when Shandu controlled a flick-on before blasting home, but the wingback was correctly flagged offside, and shortly thereafter Collins Makgaka headed on target at a corner, but saw his effort cleared off the line by Mpho Mathebula.
That was as close as Pirates came to a winner, with the visiting side proving exactly why they have been so tough to beat since promotion to the top flight.
The teams will be back in DStv Premiership action next weekend, with Pirates at home to AmaZulu on Friday 14 October and Bay hosting provincial rivals Maritzburg United the following day.
Orlando Pirates 0-0 Richards Bay
Pirates: Mpontshane, Ndah (Xoki 67’), Sibisi, Maela (Mako 77’), Shandu, Mosele (Makgaka 58’), Timm, Hotto, Ndlondlo, Saleng (Eva Nga 77’), Lepasa (Dzvukamanja 67’)
Bay: Magoola, Maphathe (Mthethwa 90+3’), Nyauza, Mcineka, Mabua, Barns (Majadibodu 83’), Mabaso, Mathebula, Msani, Memela (Hlongwa 71’), Ntsundwana (Makateng 83’)
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