Pirates needed a win to secure a place in the quarterfinals, but left it to Thursday’s game between Enyimba and Libya’s Al Ahli Benghazi after fluffing several scoring chances.
The Buccaneers enjoyed spells of dominance, but the much-needed goals just could not come by. It was a see-saw affair in the early stages of the first half with the Bucs taking control after 10 minute mark. The visitors were, however, able to absorb their attacks.
Siyabonga Mpontshane, who got a rare start ahead of the more experienced Wayne Sandilands, was forced out by an injury in the 24th minute after colliding with Setif forward Daniel Lamotey while clearing a ball.
Pirates had a chance to take the lead shortly after the break when Tshegofatso Mabasa found himself in the box albeit under challenge.
Mabasa directed his effort wide in what was Pirates’ best chance of the day. Five minutes later, Vincent Pule couldn’t keep his header down, his effort skiing over the bar.
Bafana Bafana captain Thulani Hlatshwayo then brought down a Lamotey just outside the box in the 65th minute. From the resultant free-kick, Sandilands parried the ball out for a corner kick.
Thereafter, the visitors had a sustained spell of dominance in the last 20 minutes of the second half, but the Pirates defence kept them at bay.
The Buccaneers visit Enyimba next Wednesday for the final game of the campaign.
By Mthokozisi Dube