The Buccaneers have only themselves to blame after missing some great scoring opportunities, and the visitors will be satisfied with having picked up a point.
The first chance of the game fell to Santos, when Salmaan King raced clear on a counter-attack, but the usually reliable midfielder lost his composure and sliced his shot wide.
Pirates’ Phenyo Mongala almost beat Tshepo Motsoeneng at his near post with a neat turn and shot from the edge of the box, but the ball flashed just the wrong side of the upright.
Pirates had the greater share of possession but struggled to make it count. Isaac Chansa did have a one-on-one chance just before the break, but Motsoeneng came off his line quickly, rushed the Pirates attacker and blocked his shot.
The second half was much the same as the first, with Pirates generally dominating possession but failing to find a way to pierce the Santos defence.
In the 77th minute, Motsoeneng spilled a free-kick from substitute Patrick Malokase, but he did well to knock away the loose ball before onrushing attackers could punish him.
Another Bucs sub, Mark Mayambela, should have won the game for the Soweto side in the 84th minute but, after meeting Tlou Segolela’s unselfish pull-back just a few metres out from goal, he somehow spooned his effort over the target.