Goals hard to come by for Pirates in draw with Arrows

Josef Zinnbauer (Press Association)
Josef Zinnbauer (Press Association)

Orlando Pirates were held to a goalless draw with Golden Arrows in the DStv Premiership on Wednesday.

It was a game of few chances at the Orlando Stadium, with the result seeing Bucs drop to sixth on 18 points as Arrows remain in fourth but move onto 19 points, from 12 games.

Pirates started like a house on fire and may have taken a lead from the kick-off had Vincent Pule connected properly to a cut back in the Arrows box from the left from Bongani Sam.

Happy Jele was then off target from a third minute Thembinkosi Lorch free-kick.

A shot from range from Pule Mmodi on 12 minutes was easily collected by Bucs stopper Richard Ofori at the other end, before Gladwin Shitolo put his body on the line to head clear a Sam delivery from the left with Lorch waiting to pounce.

A fierce ball into the box from Sam on 33 minutes was well collected by Arrows stopper Sifiso Mlungwana while an inviting ball from the opposite flank was just too high for Terrence Dzvukamanja as he raced into the box.

Lorch had a 36th minute header, from another good Sam delivery, come back off the left-hand upright as Bucs came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock.

A Lorch effort on target on 41 minutes was blocked by teammate Fortune Makaringe, who was called up for offside anyway, as the first half ended with Dzvukamanja seeing his close-range shot cleared by Arrows captain Nkosinathi Sibisi. Pirates started the second period in the ascendancy with a couple of good forays forward but without any reward.

Siyabonga Dube was in with a chance for Arrows on 53 minutes but was unable to put any power on his volley at the ball arrived at his foot from Velemseni Ndwandwe.

Gabadinho Mhango did well to create space for a shot just before the hour mark but his effort was easily kept out by Mlungwana.

Lorch then smashed a 63rd minute free-kick well over the Arrows goal, as second-half substitute Deon Hotto was just wide from a tight angle as Pirates continued to look for a breakthrough.

Mmodi came as close as anyone to scoring, on 69 minutes, with a shot he sliced just wide, after a quick counter-attack from Mandla Ncikazi's charges.

The introduction of Mhango, Hotto and Linda Mntambo as well as Wayde Jooste gave Bucs an extra impetus as they pressed for a potential winner.

Hotto's 78th minute free-kick was ineffective though, while Mmodi thought he had scored with a long-ranger drive on 85 minutes that ultimately hit the frame of the goal.

Ntsako Makhubela couldn't find a way through with his effort late on, as Pule saw his late drive safely parried.

Bucs refused to stop attacking and a better touch from Hotto may have set him up for the winner, but it wasn't to be for the 2020/21 DStv Premiership challengers, while Arrows maintained their unbeaten start to the season.

- TEAMtalk media

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