Johannesburg – Defending champions Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United played to a goalless draw in their MTN8 semifinal first leg clash at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
In a very physical game, Matsatsantsa were reduced to 10 men after Edwin Gyimah was shown a red card just before half-time.
Pirates also had Rooi Mahamutsa sent off at the stroke of full-time.
The game’s first real chance fell to Pirates in the 7th minute when Manti Moholo was fouled just outside the box.
The resulting free kick was set up for Benni McCarthy but the bulky striker’s effort was parried out for a corner by keeper Ronwen Williams.
In the 16th minute, the 20-year old Williams proved he was worthy of the Young Player of the Season award when he managed to tip a dipping Daine Klate free kick out for a corner.
United got their chance to take the lead in the 22nd minute after Sibusiso Zuma was hacked down by Siyabonga Sangweni but poor communication saw them waste the chance and allow Klate to clear the danger.
Andile Jali broke lose in the 29th minute and sent in a beautiful cross for Thulasizwe Mbuyane to fire home but the man popularly known as ‘Juju’ watched in disbelief as his grass cutter went across goal.
In an individual moment of brilliance, fullback Thabo Matlaba dribbled past a couple of United defenders and unleashed a pile driver which was blocked by Bevan Fransman in 34th minute.
With five minutes left to go, Moholo was booked for a studs-up challenge on George Maluleke and Lucas Thwala headed over the cross bar from the resultant set piece.
The first half was summed up by a moment of madness, Gyimah deliberately stamped on Moholo leaving referee Thabo Nkosi with no choice but to send off the Ghanaian midfielder.
The second half was a tame affair until the 55th minute, when United felt hard done by when the referee turned down their penalty appeal after Mabhudi Khenyeza went down inside the box.
In the 67th minute, McCarthy set up Mbuyane with a back heel but the striker lacked composure inside the box which saw his tame, low shot being collected by Williams.
New signing Collins Mbesuma was welcomed by a loud cheer from the stands in 76th minute as he made his debut for the Buccaneers coming on for McCarthy.
Sangweni controlled the ball well and unleashed a volley in the 86th minute but Davies Nkausu was in the firing line deflecting the ball out for a corner which the Bucs put to waste.
The game ended in another moment of madness, when defender Mahamutsa was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Thabiso Nkoana.
Despite playing to a draw at home, Matsatsantsa would be happy to have kept a clean sheet going to the second let at Orlando Stadium on Saturday. – Sapa