Bucs fail to close gap on Sundowns as they're held by 10-man Maritzburg at Harry Gwala
Orlando Pirates missed a chance to close the gap between themselves and DStv Premiership log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns when they played to a 0-0 draw against a 10-man Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday night.
Maritzburg midfielder Brandon Theron was given a straight red card by referee Abongile Tom for a dangerous foul on Thabang Monare after 60 minutes, but the Bucs failed to take advantage in a game they dominated from the start.
The draw keeps Bucs on 10 points and nine behind the defending champions, who remain unbeaten this season and are yet to concede a goal after seven rounds of league action.
Pirates saw a lot of the ball in the first half but did not make their presence felt where it matters most, in the opposition’s penalty area where strikers Terence Dzvukamanja and Tshegofatsho Mabasa failed to really test Marcel Engelhardt in goal.
The Maritzburg keeper did well to block Mabasa’s clear-cut attempt in the 16th minute when Bucs most offensive player on the night, Linda Mntambo, dissected the home side's rearguard with a good pass.
Mntambo was himself denied by Engelhardt moments later when he tested the German gloveman with a long-range shot.
It was Mntambo again who gave Dzvukamanja a chance to open the scoring towards the end of the first half, but the Zimbabwean striker fluffed his chance with his shot going wide.
Pirates created six chances to break the deadlock in the first half, while the home side had no shot on goal as they played as if they were the ones who were the visitors at their own venue.
The second half started on a similar note with the Bucs showing better signs of wanting to open the score. But Maritzburg were now producing a much improved display and trying to carve chances of their own with midfielder Daylon Claasen having come on at the restart.
Maritzburg striker Amadou Soukouna was unlucky to see his strike blocked after skinning Bucs skipper Happy Jele, with his sights on goal a few minutes after the restart.
The home side did well to hold on to the point after being reduced to 10 men with Theron’s dismissal coming just after the hour mark.