• Pirates drop points at FC Platinum

    Orlando Pirates were forced to settle for a point in Group B after playing to a 0-0 draw against FC Platinum in the Caf Champions League on Saturday, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.

    The Buccaneers booked their place in this stage of the tournament after beating Namibian side African Stars in the play-off round.

    Milutin Sredojevic’s men will have a chance to top Group B in the early stages of the group after the likes of Horoya and ES Tunis played to a 1-1 draw on Friday.

    Meanwhile, Platinum make their debut appearance in the group stages after qualifying for this stage of the tournament by going through on the away goal rule following their 1-1 stalemate against Congolese side AS Otoho.

    The Buccaneers came out with a real intent on finding a goal in the opening exchanges of the game.

    They had their first real chance at goal in the 10th minute when Justin Shonga should have opened the scoring, but his strike was comfortable saved by Platinum goalkeeper Petros Mhari.

    Platinum nearly took the lead three minutes later when Kelvin Madzongwe unleashed a thunderous strike from distance, but Pirates shot-stopper Jackson Mabokgwane made a vital save to deny the midfielder.

    Devon Chafa had a golden opportunity to hand Platinum the lead after he was left unmarked inside the area, but he could only blaze his volley straight into the hands of Mabokgwane.

    The visitors came close to breaking the deadlock after 35 minutes, but Innocent Maela narrowly missed the target with his header.

    Mhari came to his sides rescue when he made a great save to deny Thembinkosi Lorch’s goal-bound effort.

    Shonga had a chance of his own on the stroke of half time, but the Pirates attacker directed his free kick safely into the hands of Mhari as the game went into the break locked at 0-0.

    The home side came out the better side and had the first opportunity of the second half through Mudzuiwa.

    At the other end, Shonga found himself in some space before cutting in to play a ball towards Mahachi inside the area, but the Zimbabwean’s volley deflect out for a corner.

    Pirates continued to press in attack and enjoyed their fair share of possession, while Platinum were forced to soak up the pressure in their half of the field.

    The home side managed to conjure up two efforts at goal in quick succession, but neither Madhananga or Sadike were able to find the back of the net.

    Vincent Pule thought he should have been awarded a penalty just after the 70th minute mark after he was brought down in the box, but the referee waved play on.

    Rahman Kutsanzira came close to breaking the deadlock after 78 minutes, but his effort lacked composure as it sailed wide of the target.

    Platinum had another opportunity to take the lead two minutes later, but Gift Mbweti failed to find the back of the net with his effort.

    Both side’s pressed forward in the closing stages of the game but neither side were able to find the winning goal as the game ended 0-0 at the Barbourfields Stadium.

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