Soweto derby ends in goalless stalemate

Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates played to a goalless draw in an Absa Premiership encounter at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Amakhosi continue to be on top of the league log with 51 points from 22 matches.

Bernard Parker and Siphiwe Tshabalala returned to the starting line-up, with the midfielder getting his record breaking 23rd Derby cap (since the introduction of the PSL).

The Buccaneers started aggressively, trying to win control of the midfield. The visitors had most of the early ball possession without, however, threatening Amakhosi goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.

Actually, it was Chiefs that had a good shout for a penalty when George Lebese was brought down by Pirates defender Siyabonga Sangweni. But the referee decided otherwise.

The game was played at a high tempo with both teams looking to move forward quickly whenever in ball possession.

The best early chance came for Siboniso Gaxa in the 32nd minute. Tshabalala’s excellent cross from the left got to the Amahosi defender, but he couldn’t convert. A minute later it was Tshabalala, whose shot at goal was well saved by the Buccaneers goalkeeper.

Slowly, Chiefs started to gain the upper hand, winning more and more battles in the centre of the park.

However, halftime arrived without any goals with Amakhosi having had the better opportunities to score.

Chiefs started the second half well, trying to put early pressure on the Buccaneers whenever in possession of the ball.

Tshabalala released a powerful shot with his left-foot from outside the box in the 57th minute. The ball looked to fly straight into the goal, but a reflection off a Pirates defender cared that, instead, it bounced off the crossbar back into the field.

The Buccaneers also got a few opportunities. The game opened up and certainly from a spectator point of view it was livelier than during the first 45 minutes.

Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter decided to make his first substitution in the 70th minute, bringing on Siphelele Mthembu, who had returned from injury, for Lebese, who started the game very well but he faded a bit later on.

Mthembu became the striker, while Parker moved slightly to the left wing. This helped Parker to get some more space, which made him a more threatening player.

Amakhosi got a few great opportunities to open the score around the 80th minute, the best coming for Gaxa. However, the Pirates goalkeeper made an excellent intervention.

Towards the end the game was flowing up and down, with chances arriving for both sides.

It was a fascinating second half to watch, even though no goals were scored.

Chiefs’ next game will be away against Maritzburg United at Pietermaritzburg’s Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday, 11 March (kick-off at 19:30).

Kaizer Chiefs 0

Orlando Pirates 0

Kaizer Chiefs: Khune, Gaxa (Moleko 91’), Mashamaite, Mathoho, Masilela, Masango (Maluleka 89’), Letsholonyane, Katsande, Lebese (Mthembu 70’), Tshabalala, Parker

Orlando Pirates: Mhlongo, Jele, Mahamutsa, Sangweni, Matlaba, Makola (Bacela 85’), Sarr, Ntshumayelo (Rakhale 70’), Myeni, Manyisa, Majoro (Erasmus 62’)