Zero for Highlands, Bucs
Orlando Pirates battled to a goalless draw against Highlands Park in a drab Absa Premiership encounter at Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa last night.
Played in front of a full crown on a somewhat chilly evening, the match swung from end to end, with both yearning for goals for the entire 90 minutes, but neither could find the back of the net.
Pirates were on the offensive in the first stanza, in which they attacked Highlands Park’s defence, but their efforts were thwarted.
Oupa Manyisa curled an inswinging corner from the left in the 17th minute, but Highlands Park’s keeper Tapuwa Kapini caught the ball with ease.
From there on, it was a ding-dong battle. Highlands Park’s Lindokuhle Mbatha curled in an inswinging corner from out on the left, but his effort could not inspire any confidence as Pirates were on the alert and hellbent on not conceding a goal.
The result enabled the Bucs to remain in the ninth spot on the log with 27 points, while Highlands Park are still rooted at the bottom with a meagre 20 points – staring relegation in the eye.
. In an earlier match, Kaizer Chiefs battled to a 1-0 win over Chippa United in a PSL clash at Mbombela Stadium.
The Chilli Boys came into the tie hoping to claim a second win over Chiefs this season, but the loss sees them sitting at number 12 on the log standings, with 24 points from as many matches.
A late strike from substitute George Lebese handed Steve Komphela’s men the deserved three points as they avenged the 3-1 defeat they suffered in the first round.
The opening five minutes saw them starting the contest on a high as they kept the visitors under pressure.
Siphiwe Tshabalala showed his quality on the left flank, beating his marker before putting a brilliant cross for Ramahlwe Mphahlele, whose header missed the target in the 15th minute with only goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi to beat.
In the 31st minute, George Maluleka tried to beat Akpeyi from long range with a well-struck effort, but it went inches wide of the right post.
Five minutes later, the Chilli Boys fought hard to penetrate the hosts and skipper Thamsanqa Sangweni failed to test keeper Itumeleng Khune as his effort went over the bar.
After great football from both sides and on the stroke of half time, Gustavo Páez also came close, receiving a cross from Edmore Chirambadare, yet the Venezuelan could not control his acrobatic shot as it went wide.
Despite the attempts to break the deadlock, it was 0-0 at half time.
Ten minutes into the second stanza, Mphahlele made a good run into Chippa’s half and laid the ball for Tshabalala in the box, but the midfielder’s left-footed attempt sailed wide.
With 17 minutes to go, substitute Lebese sold his opponent a dummy and picked up Páez , but the forward could not find his way past Akpeyi, who made a save.
Chiefs showed a sense of urgency and, with five minutes to go, Lebese converted in the box with a powerful left-footed shot following a clever pass from William Twala on the left flank.
Despite Dan Malesela’s men’s resilience in trying to find an equaliser, Amakhosi controlled the proceedings as they marched on with the full three points.
The victory elevates Chiefs to number two on the log with 45 from 24 games, separated by goal difference from leaders Cape Town City.
. In another match, Golden Arrows and Ajax Cape Town drew 11 at Chatsworth Stadium in Durban.
Arrows’ goal was scored by Nkanyiso Mngwengwe in the 14th minute, while Prince Nxumalo equalised in the 77th minute.