Mamelodi Sundowns displayed an incredible outing in the MTN8 semi-final battle against Orlando Pirates in Soweto to secure a goalless draw in the first leg of the Wafa Wafa Cup competition.
The Brazilians came out strongly against the Buccaneers as both teams showed eagerness to get a goal as early as possible in the opening minutes of the match. The home team had a chance at goal first, Khuliso Mudau was cautioned for a tackle on Bandile Shandu on the right side of the pitch, the Sea Robbers looked for a direct approach at Ronwen Williams after Monnapule Saleng’s strike hit the top of the woodwork.
Masandawana responded with an attempt at goal, this time Themba Zwane received the ball in the box, but the midfielder was unable to connect his shot well as it went off target. The Buccaneers returned again with a fierce attack from the middle of the park, new signing Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo released a pass to Zakhele Lepasa upfront, as the home team looked to finish off their move in attack, Rushine De Reuck blocked the attempt.
Ezimyama Ngenkani continued to apply pressure on Downs defensive structures, but the solid wall at the back remained intact. Bafana Ba Style were eventually awarded a free kick after Mshishi was brought down towards half time. Teboho Mokoena positioned himself to take the set piece, the young maestro’s shot went over the bar and gave Pirates’ goalie Richard Ofori a chance to rearrange his defense.
Neo Maema came close to goal in the last minutes of the first half, the Free State born star ained his shot at Ofori but was unfortunate to get positive results. Masandawana and the Buccaneers went into the break with no goals on either side.
When the second half began, Bafana Ba Style seemed to have found their composure again, starting with a prolonged spell of comfortable possession, which nearly resulted in getting the advantage at Orlando Stadium. Namibian international Peter Shalulile had his work cut out for him early after the restart, however two defenders from Pirates denied him the chance to take his shot at Ofori.
Williams was tested once again by Saleng and Lepasa, the Bafana Bafana international goalie denied the two strikers attempts at goal and kept Masandawana in the game. Pirates’ defense committed a foul on Mokoena outside the arch, the 25-year-old stepped up to take the opportunity to open the scoring line but his shot hit the wall of the Buccaneers.
The Brazilians made changes 10 minutes into the restart of the match, Bongani Zungu replaced Andile Jali, while Marcelo Allende swapped places with Maema. Other substitutions made in the encounter include Gaston Sirino, Thapelo Morena and Cassius Mailula as Mudau, Thabiso Kutumela and Zwane made their way off.
Sundowns continued to produce a threat at goal in the second half, showing heart and determination to win the heated encounter. With 29 minutes left to play, Zwane showed his dazzling skills with a back heel pass to Mokoena in the 18 area. Mokoena’s shot was cleared out by captain of the Sea Robbers Innocent Maela.
Kermit Erasmus flashed a shot across the box as the hosts pressed for a breakthrough with greater urgency towards the end of the second half. Williams came off his line quickly and jumped for the ball to tap it over the crossbar. The fully packed clash ended with a goalless draw as both teams will gear up for the second leg of the occasion to be held at the home of the Tshwane giants.
This is how we lined up:
- Williams, A. Modiba, K. Mudau (86′ Morena), G. Kekana, R. De Reuck, T. Mokoena, T. Zwane (86′ Mailula), A. Jali © (53′ Zungu), N. Maema (53′ Allende), T. Kutumela (62′ Sirino), P. Shalulile
Subs:D. Onyango (GK), T. Morena, S. Ngobeni, C. Mailula, M. Allende, M. Lebusa, B. Zungu, G. Sirino, E. Saavedra.