Orlando Pirates have now gone four games without a win or a goal in all competitions after they settled for a point away to AmaZulu in the Absa Premiership on Tuesday evening.
Pirates coach Rhulani Mokwena rang the changes from the defeat in the MTN8 as the likes of Fortune Makaringe, Xola Mlambo and Gabadinho Mhango returned to the side, while there was a first debut for off-season signing Siphesihle Ndlovu.
Usuthu, meanwhile, were dealt a blow right before kick off as first choice goalkeeper Siyabonga Mbatha suffered an injury in the warm-up and had to be replaced by Neil Boshoff.
Despite the flurry of changes, there was a great tempo to the encounter while chances were not hard to come by as Siyethemba Sithebe rattled the woodwork after 10 minutes before Vincent Pule was denied by the frame of the goal at the other end seven minutes later.
The Buccaneers were certainly the livelier of the two sides in the opening stanza, with Pule causing all sorts of problems down the left flank although his teammates were seemingly not on the same wavelength in the final third.
Unfortunately for Pule, he wouldn’t be in the game for much longer as the winger’s night came to an end after 65 minutes as Mokwena introduced Tshegofatso Mabasa as the Buccaneers went in search of the opening goal.
Usuthu started seeing more of the ball as the second half went on and they nearly found the opening goal as Andre de Jong skipped past two Pirates defenders before unleashing a strike from distance that was parried away by Sandilands on 75 minutes.
With time running out, Justin Shonga was introduced for Ndlovu before Usuthu’s Bonginkosi Ntuli made way for Mhengi Cele in the final five minutes.
The late changes, however, made no difference to clash as neither side were able to fashion another opening half in the latter stages of the half, with the encounter ending all square in Durban.
The Buccaneers will now shift their focus to overturning first-leg loss to Zambia’s Green Eagles in the CAF Champions League preliminary round.
Here’s how they lined up:
AmaZulu: 43. Boshoff, 24. Sikhakane, 29. Mabiliso, 27. Xoki, 23. T.Gumede, 50. Vilakazi, 26. Magaqa, 10. Sithebe, 8. Ncobeni, 12. De Jong, 7. Ntuli.
Subs: 28. Mbatha, 3. Madela, 17. M.Gumede, 33. Darpoh, 11. Karuru, 19. Chawaphiwa, 9.Cele.
Pirates: 30. Sandilands, 4. Jele, 2. Mbekile, 23. Maela, 8. Ndlovu, 20. Mlambo, 29. Mako, 15. Makaringe, 45. Pule, 3. Lorch, 7. Mhango,
Subs: 1. Delle, 27. Ndengane, 5. Nyauza, 18. Dlamini, 24. Tlolane, 12. Shonga, 16. Mabasa.
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Source – SoccerLaduma