Sunday Observer - - SPORT -

PRE­TO­RIA- Mamelodi Sun­downs and Or­lando Pi­rates could not be sep­a­rated at Lof­tus Sta­dium in an en­counter that was filled with off-field drama.

Jeremy Brockie had a great chance to grab the lead for Masan­dawana after just two min­utes after be­ing sent through on the right side of the box but he fired his shot wide.

Sun­downs were forced into an early sub­sti­tu­tion in the 13th minute as Andile Jali suc­cumbed to a ham­string in­jury and was re­placed by Tiyani Mabunda.

Them­binkosi Lorch had a chance to break the deadlock for Mi­lutin Sre­do­je­vic’s charges in the 21st minute with a strike on the right side of the box but Onyango got down well to make the save. The pace of the game was go­ing down after the two sides took a wa­ter break towards the 25th minute in the scorch­ing heat in Tsh­wane.

Soon after, there was a scuf­fle be­tween the two benches 10 min­utes be­fore half­time after images showed a fan get­ting into the Bucs tech­ni­cal area and go­ing for Pi­rates as­sis­tant coach Rhu­lani Mok­wena, which ul­ti­mately led to both benches get­ting in­volved as tem­pers flared.

Once the game got un­der­way, Justin Shonga al­most broke the deadlock for Pi­rates two min­utes be­fore the break with a di­ag­o­nal curl­ing strike from a free-kick, but his ef­fort sailed wide of the up­right.

There was nine min­utes added on fol­low­ing the touch­line scuf­fle, but nei­ther side could break the deadlock and went into the break all square.

Lorch had an op­por­tu­nity to break the deadlock for the vis­i­tors five min- utes into the sec­ond stanza after go­ing through on the right side of the box but he guided his low strike wide.

Phaka­mani Mahlambi al­most got the break­through for the Brazil­ians in the 61st min­utes barely a minute after com­ing on for Brockie, tak­ing on two play­ers on the left side of the box to go through on goal but his low strike at the near post was saved by Bucs goal­keeper Siyabonga Mpontshane.

Or­lando Pi­rates de­fender Happy Jele in a head­ing duel with Sun­downs’ Gas­ton Sirino at Lof­tus Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

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