Orlando Pirates missed out on fourth spot in the DStv Premiership after playing to goalless draw against Baroka FC on Thursday evening.
Pirates recalled Olisah Ndah, Bandile Shandu and Kwame Peprah who didn’t feature against LPRC Oilers, while Thamsanqa Masiya, Athenkosi Dlala and Kgodiso Monama returned for the visitors.
With the match delayed due to traffic congestion, it was the host that troubled first through a scorcher outside the area from Fortune Makaringe that forced Oscarine Masuluke to palm out for a corner.
The Buccaneers continued to unsettle the visitors after Deon Hotto beat Masuluke to a ball over the top from Ndah inside the midway point but only to drag the delivery wide with the goal in clear sight.
Bakgaga Ba Ga Mphahlele’s woes weren’t over after Masuluke was called to beat a powerful attempt on the cusp of the area by Ben Motshwari to safety.
With five minutes to halftime, the Buccaneers maintained the pressure as Bakgaga began to grow in confidence with ventures in the opposite third however goalless it finished in the first half.
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Two substitutions from Pirates ahead of the second half saw Tshegofatso Mabasa enter for Peprah and Kwanda Mngonyama introduced in the place of Shandu.
Following their dominant first half, the hosts began to bear Bakgaga’s brunt shortly in the restart after goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane parried Nhlanhla Mgaga’s free-kick onto the woodwork.
With Pirates gaining momentum, Linda Mntambo went off target with a first-time strike before Hotto closed in with a looping header from close-range.
Bafana Bafana international Evidence Makgopa nearly broke the Buccaneers hearts inside the last 20 minutes with a move from the near side but he dragged wide.
Pirates enjoyed a strong finish with Bakgaga stationed deep in their own half, thus the goalless affair saw Bucs missed out on third spot while the visitors slightly eased their relegation woes.
Pirates: Mpontshane, Nyauza, Ndah, Shandu, Mako, Motshwari, Makaringe, Hotto, Makgaka, Mntambo, Peprah
Subs: Sithole, Radiopane, Mngonyama, Dzvukamanja, Maela, Sam, Dlamini, Monare, Mabasa
Baroka: Masuluke, Makume, Sithole, Farmer, Mgaga, Dlala, Shozi, Masiya, Makgopa, Bobete, Monama.
Subs: Chipezeze, Seema, Sibiya, Mokhabi, Goldstone, Chauke, Nikitaridis, Ngubane, Ndhlovu.