For not the first time in recent history, the Soweto Derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs ended in a goalless stalemate with neither able to break the deadlock in an Absa Premiership clash that flattered to deceive at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, on a steaming hot Saturday afternoon.
Despite plenty of energy and goal-mouth action throughout the 90 minutes, both teams failed in their attempts to rattle the back of the net as the 90 000-odd supporters that crammed inside the 2010 World Cup final venue left rather disappointed.
The Buccaneers suffered an early blow with Luvoyo Memela ruled out of the clash minutes before kick-off – Riyaad Norodien replacing the attacking midfielder in the starting eleven.
Eager to grab the slice of good fortune with both hands, Norodien went about to impress Muhsin Ertugral and his technical team with the Ajax Cape Town winger the best player on the park in the first-half.
After Michelle Katsvairo and Mpho Makola squandered chances in the opening 15 minutes of the game, Nordien sparked Pirates to life – setting up Thabo Rakhale in the 23rd minute.
Norodien burst down the left flank, cut inside before finding ‘Jomo’ who – with a sight at goal – was guilty of a heavy first touch allowing Itumeleng Khune the chance to rush off his line and gather the ball.
Chiefs best chance of the opening stanza fell to Hendrick Ekstein on the cusp of half-time. Ramahlwe Mphahlele made a lung-busting run down the right before picking out his teammate who could only succeed in skying his volley attempt over the crossbar from close range.
Both teams continued to press forward in search of the opener after the interval and Pirates should have hit the back of the net in the 49th minute. Tendai Ndoro broke through on goal before setting up Gift Motupa – the midfielder, with the goal at his mercy, unable to direct his first time shot on target.
Chiefs were the better team in the closing exchanges of the game and after Ntsikelelo Nyauza cleared Ekstein’s attempt off the line, Tshabalala – in his 28th Soweto Derby appearance – forced Brighton Mhlongo into a good save from range in the 76th minute.
With another 0-0 on the cards, Edward Manqele looked to change that and came close in stoppage time; Issa Sarr with a timely block to deny the Glamour Boys forward.
A point moves Chiefs back to the top of the standings, unbeaten Pirates move up to fourth.
Pirates: Mhlongo; Nyauza, Gyimah, Jele, Matlaba – Sarr – Norodien (Makudubela 79′), Makola, Motupa (Morrison 67′), Rakhale – Ndoro (Gabuza 81′)
Chiefs: Khune; Mphahlele, Mathoho, Gordinho, Khumalo – Katsande – Twala (Tshabalala 67′), Buchanan, Lebese (Parker 85′) – Ekstein, Katsvairo (Manqele 58′)