MTN8 semi-final between Pirates and Sundowns still wide open

MTN8 semi-final between Pirates and Sundowns still wide open
Monnapule Seleng of Orlando Pirates challenged by Grant Kekana of Mamelodi Sundowns during the 2022 MTN8 Semifinal match between orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns at the Orlando Stadium, Soweto on the 01 October 2022 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Saturday Oct 01, 2022. 19:24

Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns still have everything top play for after their MTN 8 semi-final, first-leg clash finished goalless at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

Orlando Pirates finally stopped the rot against Mamelodi Sundowns after playing out to a goalless draw with the defending champions in the first leg of their MTN 8 semi-final tie at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

Jose Riveiro’s side created the better chances on the day and were perhaps unfortunate not to take at least one goal into the return leg at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on October 22.

Masandawana didn’t manage a single shot on target, while Ronwen Williams kept his team in the contest with crucial saves to deny Nkosinathi Sibisi and Kermit Erasmus.

The Buccaneers were looking to halt a five-match losing streak against the Brazilians, who hadn’t been beaten by their rivals since January 2020.

Pirates gave as good as they got in the first half and tested Ronwen Williams on two occasions, with Sundowns enjoying slightly more possession without hitting the target.

The visitors were first to threaten on nine minutes from a free-kick that Themba Zwane flicked across the face of goal, while back up the other end Olisa Ndah failed to trouble Williams three minutes later with a shot from range that drifted to the right of the target.

Bucs new-boy Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo drew a comfortable save out of Williams from distance on 17 minutes and the action switched to the opposite end again as Zwane sent a volley just over the crossbar from a tight angle on the right in the 20th minute.

The Sea Robbers came closer to breaking the deadlock on the half-hour mark when Saleng delivered the ball back into the danger area after Downs had cleared a corner and Sibisi forced a save out of Williams with his header at the back post.

Masandawana had the final two chances of the half as Neo Maema cleared the target with a strike from range in the 41st minute before Aubrey Modiba went for goal with a free-kick from an acute angle that also missed its mark.

The hosts made a bright start to the second half, with Lepasa in the thick of the action after latching onto a long ball from Sibisi and drawing a superb one-handed save out of Williams in a one-on-one situation on 50 minutes.

He then attempted to catch the Bafana Bafana goalkeeper off his line five minutes later with a lob that went wide of the goal.

It was Lepasa’s final involvement as he was soon replaced by Erasmus, who made his second debut since returning to the club from Sundowns on transfer deadline day.

Vincent Pule almost made an immediate impact following his introduction from the bench as he dragged a shot wide of the right post from range on 74 minutes after the ball was recycled from a corner.

Erasmus looked to send a message to his former employers on 81 minutes when he produced a lovely turn and got off a shot from range that Williams had to tip over the bar.

The Brazilians survived a late scare when Pule steered a header wide of the left post from Goodman Mosele’s cross in the second minute of stoppage time.

Orlando Pirates (0) 0

Mamelodi Sundowns (0) 0

Orlando Pirates: R. Ofori, O. Ndah, N. Sibisi, I. Maela, B. Shandu (T. Monyane 73′), G. Mosele, M. Timm, D. Hotto, M. Saleng (V. Pule 73′), N. Ndlondlo, Z. Lepasa (K. Erasmus 63′).

Mamelodi Sundowns: R. Williams, K. Mudau (T. Morena 87′), G. Kekana, R. De Reuck, A. Modiba, T. Mokoena, A. Jali (B. Zungu 54′), N. Maema (M. Allende 54′), T. Kutumela (G. Sirino 63′), T. Zwane (C, Mailula 87′), P. Shalulile.

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