Orlando Pirates missed out on the chance to move up to second place on the Absa Premiership standings after being held to a goalless draw by Santos at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday evening.
In a match that never really caught alight, both teams failed to produce the kind of football they are capable of and a 0-0 stalemate was a fair reflection of proceedings
The Buccaneers created the better scoring opportunities and were perhaps the better team on the balance of play, but they simply did not do enough to earn the three points on offer.
The first chance of the game fell to the visitors, with Graham King racing clear on a counter attack, but the usually reliable midfielder lost his composure and sliced his shot wide of the target.
Pirates’ Phenyo Mongala almost beat Santos goalkeeper Tshepo Motsoeneng at his near post with a neat turn and shot from the edge of the box but the ball flashed just the wrong side of the upright.
The whole match was marred by a stop-start nature due to the numerous free kicks that were given away. That the game never really had a rhythm to it suited the People’s Team, who were happy to hit their hosts on the break.
Pirates, as the first half wore on, began to find some joy down the flanks, but their final crosses were often well dealt with by the tall Santos centre-back pairing of Wayne Arendse and Musa Otieno, who both put on excellent displays.
However, they did allow Isaac Chansa a one-on-one chance just before the break, but they were bailed out by Motsoeneng, who did well to come off his line quickly, rush the Pirates attacker and block his shot
The second half was much of the same, with Pirates generally dominating possession but failing to find a way to pierce the Santos defence.
The Cape side were given a heart-in-mouth moment in the 77th minute, with Motsoeneng spilling a free kick from substitute Patrick Malokase, but he did well to flap away the loose ball before onrushing attackers could punish him.
Another Bucs sub, Mark Mayambela, should have won the game for the Soweto side in the 84th minute but, after meeting Tlou Segolela’s unselfish pull-back just a few metres out from goal, he somehow spooned his effort over the target.
That miss effectively summed up what was a disappointing game, though Santos will be delighted at having picked up a point from a tough away fixture. They remain in sixth place, now on 22 points.
Pirates are in fourth place on 26 points, now four adrift of leaders Mamelodi Sundown who on Saturday night beat Maritzburg United 3-1 while Kaizer Chiefs were shocked by Ajax Cape Town with a 1-0 defeat in Cape Town on Friday night..