Highlands Park 0-0 Orlando Pirates: The Lions of the North frustrate the Buccaneers

The Buccaneers defence was found wanting the past season, but Manenzhe tells Goal that the partnership of Jele and Mobara could yield positive results

Highlands Park held Orlando Pirates to a 0-0 stalemate in a Premier Soccer League (PSL) match which was played in Tembisa on Saturday night.

The draw sees the Lions of the North move up to the 15th spot on the league standings, while the Buccaneers remain ninth on the table.

Bucs head coach Kjell Jonevret made one change to the starting line-up that faced Maritzburg United in Soweto on Tuesday. Ntsikelelo Nyauza replaced Patrick Phungwayo in defence.

Oupa Manyisa and Mpho Makola played as the two attacking midfielders - behind the main striker Tendai Ndoro in a 4-5-1 formation, which was deployed by Swedish tactician Jonevret.

His counterpart, Gordon Igesund decided to name Highlands' experienced striker Collins Mbesuma on the bench against his former side, with Peter Shalulile starting upfront as a lone striker.

The Lions of the North were hoping to avoid their third consecutive defeat in the league, while the Buccaneers were looking for their second successive victory.

Pirates saw most of the ball in the opening exchanges of the game as they looked to penetrate the Highlands defence which was compact from the beginning of the match.

However, the first real chance of the game went to the home side against the run of play in the 17th minute and Namibia international Shalulile fired over the cross-bar from a tight angle.

The solid Lions of the North defence was frustrating the visitors. Their goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini was always alert. The Zimbabwean came off his goalline to deny Manyisa at some point.

Nevertheless, the first half ended goalless with Highlands coming close to breaking the deadlock on the stroke of half-time, with Franklin Cale hitting the woodwork from a free-kick with Pirates keeper Siyabonga Mpontshane beaten.

The Buccaneers continued their dominance in terms of ball possession in the opening stages of the second half in front of a packed Makhulong Stadium.

This time Pirates were able to create clear-cut chances, but Kapini produced two good saves within a minute, parrying away Abbubaker Mobara's long range effort, before gathering Makola's attempt from close range.

As the second-half progressed the Lions of the North began to grow in confidence when pushing forward and Cale saw his powerful header go over the crossbar just before the hour mark.

Jonevret then made a tactical change pulling out a defensive midfielder Mobara for forward Dove Wome, who came off the bench to score Bucs' second goal as they beat Maritzburg 2-0 in midweek.

But Wome along with fellow frontman Ayanda Nkosi, who replaced the injured Thembinkosi Lorch, were tightly marked by Highlands centre backs Chris Katjiukua and Eddie Ngalo in the closing stages of the game.

Togo international Wome had a rare chance to snatch a late winner for Bucs from the edge of the box, but he fired wide of the target and ultimately, the match ended in a goalless draw.

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