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Orlando Pirates fluff chance to go top amid goal shortage

Pirates were held 0-0 at home in Soweto by bottom-half Golden Arrows and only rose one place to second, a point behind leaders Wits.

Orlando Pirates dropped valuable points following their goalless draw against Golden Arrows in their Absa Premiership match on 3 October 2018. Picture: @OrlandoPirates/Facebook.com

JOHANNESBURG - Only two goals were scored in four South African Premiership matches on Wednesday as Orlando Pirates blew a chance to regain top place.

Pirates were held 0-0 at home in Soweto by bottom-half Golden Arrows and only rose one place to second, a point behind leaders Wits.

Bloemfontein Celtic, who could also have gone to the top had they won convincingly, were involved in another 0-0 draw, at home to former African champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

It was the two lesser-profile matches that delivered the only goals with Black Leopards edging Baroka 1-0 in a regional derby and Chippa United pipping Free State Stars 1-0.

There were also two goalless Premiership draws Tuesday and the eight-match midweek programme produced a meagre six goals.

Ordinarily, Durban outfit Arrows would have greeted a draw at Pirates as a good result, but coach Clinton Larsen was unhappy at taking just one point home.

“The three points were there for the taking,” said the coach who was part of the Manning Rangers team that won the first Premiership 21 years ago.

“We had Pirates on the ropes but did not take advantage of the situation. My boys defended well and I can hardly remember a scoring chance Pirates had.”

Pirates midfielder Vincent Pule did give Arrows a stoppage-time scare with a free-kick that flew just too high.

“My team faced very well organised opponents tonight and we did not move the ball fast enough to create chances,” admitted Serbia-born Pirates coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic.

After winning their first four matches of the season, financially-troubled Celtic have dropped seven points in three matches and remained fourth, two points behind Wits.

Club owner Max Tshabalala admits he can no longer afford to run the club and a deal to sell it fell through.

Sundowns, the 2016 CAF Champions League winners, are the only unbeaten club, but four draws in six matches mean they lie seventh, six points off the pace.

Promoted Black Leopards ended a poor run by defeating second-from-bottom Baroka through a 77th-minute goal from Phathutshedzo Nange.

Polokwane-based Baroka are winless in seven matches, leaving the future of recently-hired Zambian coach Wedson Nyirenda in jeopardy.

Chippa United were the first club to change coaches this season, ditching Dan Malesela after just three matches and hiring former South Africa midfielder Eric Tinkler.

He has stabilised Chippa and a 69th-minute goal from Ruzaigh Gamildien earned maximum points against off-form Free State Stars.

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