JOHANNESBURG - Orlando Pirates laboured at home yet again, playing to a dull goalless draw against Golden Arrows and squandering an opportunity to return to the top of the Absa Premiership standings.
It was overall a rather tepid affair, which emphasised once more why the Buccaneers will find it difficult to keep up wit their fellow title challengers without winning their home games.
The first attempt at goal came well past the half-hour mark, and it wasn’t even Pirates who showed intent. Arrows’ Danny Phiri cut inside from the left flank and chose placement rather than power to try to beat goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane, whose counterpart Nkosingiphile Gumede could have mistaken this fixture for a picnic in as he was hardly tested.
The Buccaneers have struggled at this venue so far this season, their only win – now after nine league games and one cup fixture – coming against SuperSport United last month. But it appears to have been false hope that things will change.
Pirates coach Micho Sredojevic handed a debut to young Brazilian defender Marcelo da Silva, opting to give Innocent Maela a rest. To try and get him to adjust to the standard of the South African Premier League, Sredojevic thought it best to test him against an Arrows side that’s desperate to move away from the relegation zone.
Marcelo was substituted moments before the final whistle for a more attacking option in Thabo Qalinge, the Buccaneers clearly looking to avoid having to share the spoils. If the win over SuperSport was the bar for how Pirates should perform at home, this was simply how not to get the job done.
The first half had several forgettable moments, hardly any shots on target and a lack of desire from a team playing in front of their home crowd. Arrows shouldn’t really take any credit either – they were equally poor, although they did have the best chances to potentially walk way with more than just a point here.
Nonetheless it would be a welcomed result on the road for Clinton Larsen and his men, they were playing Pirates after all and a victory here would have been a major upset and a big scalp.
Sredojevic will hope they get can the maximum points on the road to AmaZulu this weekend as it seems away from the Orlando Stadium is where his players are most comfortable, having wracked up more wins away from home. The result leaves them a point behind log leaders Bidvest Wits, who have a game in hand after beating newly crowned MTN8 champions Cape Town City 2-0 on Tuesday night.