Orlando Pirates facing an exit from the CAF Champions League

Orlando Pirates were held to a goalless draw by a valiant African Stars side in the first leg of their CAF Champions League first-round tie.

As expected, the Buccaneers made a flurry of changes from the side that defeated Free State Stars, as only Abubakar Mobara, Happy Jele and Justin Shonga kept their spot

Vincent Pule had an early chance for Bucs in the fourth minute, sneaking in at the near post following a cross from Mobara on the right channel but his effort was kept out by a Stars defender.

African Stars were confidently playing from the back,  but they were often let down by the final ball whenever they did get out of their own half.

Linda Mntambo almost broke the deadlock for the hosts in the 22nd minute after latching onto a clever free-kick from the far right side, but his effort sailed just wide.

The Buccaneers were in full control fore most of the half, but they had no clear-cut chances to show for the dominance until the 40th minute when Shonga volleyed wide from close range.

Three minutes into the second half, Shonga should have made it 1-0 for the hosts after missing with a free-header from six-yards following a cross from Pule.

As the hosts struggled to get the break through, a double substitution was made on the hour-mark as Thembinkosi Lorch and Augustine Mulenga replaced Mpho Makola and Meshack Maphangule.

Shonga had the ball in the back of the net moments later for the hosts, but he accidentally handled the ball inside the box before firing a low shot and the goal was ruled out.

Pirates made their third and final substitution in the last quarter of an hour, bringing on the more attacking Thabo Qalinge in place of Mobara.

Pule came close to snatching the lead for Sredojevic’s men 12 minutes before time with a free-header inside the box that was saved by Stars shot-stopper Ratanda Mbazuvara.

The Samba Boys defended in numbers in the closing minutes and denied the home side any clear sight at goal in the closing stages as the first leg ended scoreless.

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