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By Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

Football Journalist

Pirates and Sundowns play to a draw in MTN8 semi-final first leg

Williams denied Erasmus a goal in his return to Pirates.

Orlando Pirates failed to utilise their home-ground advantage after playing to a goalless draw with Mamelodi Sundowns in the first leg of the MTN8 semi-finals at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

ALSO READ: Pirates versus Sundowns – will it be an Erasmus, Shalulile show?

It was a game where Pirates had to take advantage of playing in front of their home fans, while Sundowns had to make them uncomfortable by scoring an away goal going into the second leg, instead, a draw was all the sides could offer on the day

Pirates brought on Kermit Erasmus to try and get a goal, but he too found it difficult to break the deadlock, however, his presence was felt.

Sundowns also brought in the returning Bongani Zungu to add some spark but he too could not help his side overcome Pirates.

Pirates had the first real scare at goals with Monnapule Saleng’s free-kick in the 12th minute, but the striker was unfortunate to be denied by the cross-bar with Ronwen Williams well beaten.

The visitors had their moment to try and test Pirates keeper Richard Ofori after some beautiful play by Themba Zwane, but the midfielder couldn’t finish the lovely job he started as he couldn’t connect well with the ball inside the box in the 20th minute.

But, there weren’t any clear cut chances created by both sides with 30 minutes gone. Deon Hotto had an opportunity to take a shot after being played through on goals, but his failure to control the ball led to Sundowns managing to clear away the danger. The game went into the break with teams tied on 0-0.

Just after five minutes into the second half, Zakhele Lepasa was presented with a glorious opportunity to put Pirates in the lead, but his attempt was saved by Williams.

With the last 15 minutes of the game, the Brazilians grew stronger into the match as they got more ball into the Bucs halve, but their attempts at goals were fruitless. Instead, it was Pirates who came really close to scoring with Erasmus’ powerful curler from outside the box, but Williams managed to keep the danger away.

The Brazilians were deal a big blow when Khuliso Mudau was forced out of the match due to an injury, but the game went on to finish with either side unable to get a goal.

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