Major blow for Pirates, Mokwena
Orlando Pirates paid a heavy price as they not only dropped home points against Maritzburg United in a goalless draw last night but also saw Happy Jele sent off.
It means Pirates' inspirational captain will miss Saturday's Soweto derby against Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium in a big blow to a beleaguered team.
Pirates claimed a late goal when substitute Justin Shonga battered the underside of the crossbar but it was not awarded, to add to their frustration. Both sides finished the game down to 10 men when Kwanda Mngonyama of Maritzburg was also sent off.
Maritzburg will be far the happier of the two sides as they kept a clean sheet for a fourth successive league match.
Pirates' plan against a Maritzburg defence, that has been stingy this season, was to play balls over the defence and get speedy attackers onto them, timing their runs to beat the offside trap.
It worked well in the opening 10 minutes when two good chances were created that should have given the hosts a comfortable lead.
Inside the opening 60 seconds, Vincent Pule lofted the ball for Frank Mhango, who got into space superbly, pulled it back for Kabelo Dlamini, whose shot was then superbly saved by Richard Ofori.
Pule then beat the offside trap himself after just seven minutes but with his back to goal failed to get a clear shot away and another chance went abegging.
Ofori was back in action in the 40th minute to deny Mhlango at the near post.
Thabiso Kutumela had a chance to score from close-in with Jele doing well to block him, but the defence was switched off when Mngonyama went closed with a half chance soon after.
The second half started just like the first with Ofori needing to make a sharp save from Mhango almost straight from the kick off but still no goal, which prompted coach Rulani Mokwena to bring on the Zambian duo of Augustine Mulenga and Justin Shonga in the 56th minute.
Other results last night: Bloem Celtic 3, Highlands Park 1; SuperSport 0, Golden Arrows 0
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