Maritzburg United and Orlando Pirates played to a 0-0 draw in their DStv Premiership clash at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The Team of Choice were able to weather the Buccaneers’ storm in the first half and also shrugged off playing the last quarter of the game with 10 men after a red card for Brandon Theron.
The result sees Pirates move to sixth place on the log on 10 points, while United are five places and three points further back.
Pirates were the first to create a clear scoring chance, with a quick passing move in the 15th minute putting Tshegofatso Mabasa in on goal, but he was denied one-on-one by a fine save from Maritzburg goalkeeper Marcel Engelhardt.
Five minutes later the lively Linda Mntambo tested out the ‘keeper with a low shot from just outside the penalty area, but Engelhardt was again equal to the challenge, making a sharp save low to his right.
On 33 minutes Mntambo was at the heart of another dangerous Pirates attack which should have resulted in a goal, as his cross from the right was skewed wide of the target from close range by Terrence Dzvukamanja.
Pirates continued to boss the game through to the halftime interval, but the score remained 0-0. The start of the second stanza saw Maritzburg make the first change of the game, with playmaker Daylon Claasen replacing defender Riyaaz Ismail.
The Team of Choice soon created their first genuine scoring opportunity of the game, with striker Amadou Soukouna powering into the penalty area before seeing his shot bravely blocked by Paseka Mako.
Yet any hopes that the hosts would build momentum as the game wore on went up in smoke midway through the second half when Brandon Theron was sent off for a studs-up challenge on Thabang Monare. It was not a malicious challenge from the Maritzburg man, but reckless enough to merit a straight red card.
With man’s advantage, Pirates went on attack and almost claimed the lead immediately, as Fortune Makaringe’s fierce shot from outside the box was turned over the crossbar by the excellent Engelhardt in the 69th minute.
On 75 minutes Makaringe again tried his luck from long range, this time trying to pick out the top corner with a right-footed curler, but the ball flashed just wide of the target.
That proved to be the last major attacking highlight, with the Team of Choice able to see out the remainder of the clash and secure a share of the spoils.
Maritzburg will be back in DStv Premiership action on Saturday 23 October when they host TS Galaxy, while Pirates will welcome Diables Noirs for the return leg of their CAF Confederation Cup second round preliminary tie at Orlando Stadium on Sunday 24 October.
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