By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
GOOD days of the historical Soweto Derby involving Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates was put to test on Saturday after the two sides played in front of less than 80 000 spectators.
As expected, this Absa Premiership clash went on to finish in a goalless draw, and it looked like regular fans who are known to fill the 2010 FIFA World Cup’s main to its rafters seemed to have boycotted the match or rather to have lost their appetite in this derby.
This was the 8th draw by the two sides out of 11 league matches since 2012/13 season which saw Chiefs won twice while Pirates only once.
Despite the match which only really came to life in the second half, both sides shown some sense of urgency for goals by poor in finishing and hitting the woodwork saw them settle to share the spoils which was a fair reflection of a tactical battle in which neither really gained the ascendancy. The Soweto giants have now played to four successive draws in the league competition.
Pirates enjoyed the majority of possession through the first half, but Chiefs’ defence held them at arm’s length quite comfortably. The team in black and white called Itumeleng Khune into notable action only twice, both long-range efforts from Thabo Qalinge and Thabo Rakhale which were well saved by the Chiefs goalkeeper.
Mpho Makola also had an opening late in the half after a clever back-heel from the effusive Qalinge, but the veteran midfield fired straight into the side netting from a tight angle.
Chiefs’ best chance came from a set piece in the 29th minute, as George Maluleka picked out young defender Siyabonga Ngezana, whose headed effort rebounded off Wayne Sandilands’ left-hand post.
Pirates struck the woodwork early in the second half: on 55 minutes Makola picked out the run of Qalinge with a great ball over the defence and the attacking midfielder rattled the crossbar with an acrobatic volley.
That chance brought about a new energy to the game, which both teams suddenly prepared to commit more men forward in attack. Chiefs brought on Gustavo Paez to boost their forward line, while Pirates introduced both Bernard Morrison and Thamsanqa Gabuza.
The next big chance arrived in the 71st minute: Chiefs’ Siphiwe Tshabalala swung in a free kick to find the head of Willard Katsande, but the midfielder’s effort was kept out by a great one-handed save by Sandilands.
Shortly thereafter Pirates had the ball in the back of the net when Morrison turned home Makola’s cross, but the goal was correctly ruled out as the Ghanaian was both offside and used his hand to knock the ball home.
That proved to be the last real highlight in attack, as both teams saw out the remainder of the game to share the points.
Kaizer Chiefs 0
Orlando Pirates 0
Chiefs: Khune, Ngezana (Meyiwa 74’), Cardoso, Mathoho, Zulu, Molangoane, Katsande, Maluleka, Ekstein (Paez 55’), Tshabalala, Parker (Moon 86’)
Pirates: Sandilands, Matlaba, Chabalala, Nyauza, Maela, Qalinge (Lorch 81’), Sarr, Mobara, Makola, Rakhale (Gabuza 64’), Kutumela (Morrison 56’)
In Limpopo, Polokwane City played to a 2-2 draw with the visiting Golden Arrows.-More reports by Backpage TXT.