Orlamdo Pirates held by Free State Stars
Posted: 8 September 2010 Time: 22:20
Free State Stars carved out the niche as ‘draw masters’ in last season’s Absa Premiership, and they look well on course to retain their crown in 2010/11 after holding Orlando Pirates to a 0-0 stalemate at Soccer City on Wednesday evening.
It was Ea Lla Koto’s second successive 0-0 draw this season (their first was in their opening game against Santos) and completed a hat-trick of goalless Pirates-Stars league fixtures after both PSL matches between the sides last season also failed to produce any goals.
The first half saw the teams trade a large number of scoring chances, but the attempts at converting those opportunities were not worthy of a venue that hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup final.
In a game that flowed from end-to-end and saw the sides alternate periods of dominance, Pirates created the first opportunity in just the second minute when Happy Jele floated a ball from the right flank toward the far post.
Winger Daine Klate rose highest to meet the cross but saw his header tuned away for a corner kick by Stars goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene.
That scoring opportunity set the tone for the rest of the half: chances were spurned with alarming regularity, though both Mweene and his counterpart Moeneeb Josephs deserve some credit for a string of fine saves.
The best save of the first half saw Josephs show off his excellent reflexes with a block on Madoda Motha’s fierce left-footed drive – the former Black Aces forward had sliced through the Buccaneers’ backline with disarming ease.
Mweene made several fine stops, denying the likes of Klate, Tlou Segolela and Nigerian striker Ezenwa Otorogu, who all should have done much better with their opportunities.
The best chance of the first half fell to Segolela in the 42nd minute, with the flyer racing clear on the counter attack only to balloon his shot over the crossbar with just the keeper left to beat.
The tempo of the game slowed dramatically in the second half, but the theme of spurning scoring chances remained prominent.
The two best opportunities fell to the feet of Segolela. Early in the second stanza he was played in on goal by a clever back-heel from Otorogu but only succeeded in shooting straight at Mweene.
And with just over 20 minutes to play, Segolela’s pace saw him get in behind the Stars defence yet again but, with Mweene having sprinted off his line to pressure the Pirates man, he chipped the ball wide of the target.