Co-coaches Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids started with the same eleven that dominated and won 1-0 against Tanzania’s Simba SC at Orlando on Sunday in the second leg the Confed quarterfinal, which took the tie to 1-1 on aggregate before Pirates prevailed 4-3 on penalties. Bucs’ start against Chippa was just as electric and the finishing equally poor.
Wingers Thembinkosi Lorch and Deon Hotto tried every trick in the book to unlock the staunch Chippa backline with little success, and the twin strike force of Terrence Dzvukamanja and Kwame Peprah again threatened but fired blanks.
After Kaizer Chiefs, another team with their eyes firmly fixed on a runners-up finish, fluffed their own chance to make ground on Royal AM, being stunned 2-1 by Golden Arrows in KwaMashu in their earlier match on Wednesday, the goalless draw will be as tough to swallow for Pirates fans as it could be disastrous for the team’s targets.
While they have now moved a place above Chiefs from fifth to fourth on 40 points from 26 points, it will be an uphill battle to dislodge Royal AM, who have 45 points from the same number of matches, from second place.
It will be a high stakes encounter when Pirates and Royal face off in Chatsworth on May 8 in a match that has the potential to decide who wins the battle for runners-up.
For Chippa the away point will feel like victory as it sees Kurt Lentjies' side retain their 12th spot and move to 26 points, a comforting eight points away from automatic relegation and three from relegation playoff places.