Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns played to a goalless draw in the first leg of their MTN8 encounter on Saturday afternoon.
Result: Orlando Pirates 0-0 Mamelodi Sundowns
Date: 1 October 2022
Venue: Orlando Stadium
Pirates gave Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo and Monnapule Saleng their debuts, Goodman Mosele returned from suspension while Olisa Ndah was recalled to the defence. The Brazilians, on the other hand, brought back Aubrey Modiba, Thabiso Kutumela and Neo Maema.
The game got off to a lively start as Saleng came close to giving the Buccaneers the lead on 12 minutes with curling free-kick that looped over goalkeeper Ronwen Williams and came off the crossbar.
However, Sundowns took time to settle in the game and had an opening ten minutes later after Khuliso Mudau went through on goal in the box but he overhit his cross.
The game opened up and Jose Riveiro's charges also had a chance to break the deadlock on the half-hour mark after Deon Hotto went through on goal but he delayed the attack with a cut-back instead of going for goal.
The theme of missed opportunities continued as just before the half-time break Maema threatened with a strike from the edge of the box that flashed just wide.
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The Buccaneers had a quick start to the second stanza as Zakhele Lepasa had a big chance within six minutes after he was released clear on goal by Nkosinathi Sibisi but he could not beat Williams in a one-on-one.
Sundowns required fresh legs after that and responded with a double change as Maema and Andile Jali were replaced by Marcelo Allende and Bongani Zungu.
With the game on the edge just after hour-mark, Riveiro also refreshed his attack as he gave Kermit Erasmus his second debut in place of Lepasa upfront.
The encounter was still there for the taking, as the Brazilians had a good opportunity with 20 minutes to go after Themba Zwane slid Mokwena through on goal by Innocent Maela made a crucial clearance.
The lack of finishing touches continued to sum up the match, as five minutes later Vincent Pule played a fantastic cross that needed a tap-in towards Erasmus but Grant Kekana made a timely clearance.
Pirates increased their intensity in the last ten minutes as Erasmus unleashed a dipping strike from range that was tipped over the crossbar by Williams.
The hosts continued to threaten but the Brazilians were equally resilient at the back and the game ended all square, with all to play for in the second-leg.
Here's how they lined up:
Orlando Pirates: 31. Ofori, 23. Maela, 5. Sibisi, 49. Ndah, 20. Mosele, 4. Timm, 26. Shandu, 11. Hotto, 14. Saleng, 15. Ndlondlo, 25. Lepasa
Subs: 40. Mpontshane, 45. Pule, 29. Mako, 27. Xoki, 18. Dlamini, 15. Makaringe, 6. Motshwari, 95. Erasmus
Mamelodi Sundowns: 32. Williams, 17. Modiba, 17. Mudau, 30. Kekana, 3. De Reuck, 15. Jali, 4. Mokoena, 35. Maema, 18. Zwane, 12. Kutumela, 38. Shalulile
Subs: 14. D.Onyango, 27. Morena, 37. Ngobeni, 33. Mailula, 11. Allende, 5. Lebusa, 8. Zungu, 10. Sirino, 26. Saavedra
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