Orlando Pirates produced a flimsy performance against Chippa United at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Tuesday night as they warmed up for their CAF Champions League opener this weekend.
Despite dominating, Pirates had to settle for a share of the spoils in a 1-1 Premiership stalemate.
Bandile Shandu opened the scoring for the visitors in Gqeberha during the first half but Chippa managed an equaliser through Goodman Mosele just past the hour mark, and both sides spurned scoring chances later in the match.
The Chilli Boys showed loads of commitment throughout and kept their challenge alive with counterattacks which Pirates battled to contain.
The Buccaneers were handed five yellow cards and led the foul count 16-13, and these statistics point to the team’s exasperating outing against an average opposition.
Pirates coach Jose Riveiro was troubled by his team’s display in what he described as an “ugly game”.
“From my perspective, it was an ugly game with a lot of interruptions … with so much emotion, but with not so much football,” said Riveiro.
“They celebrate, we don’t, and we move to the next one.
“It was a difficult game. There was a low block, it was very compact and had no spaces.
“You feel the game is under control, but it’s not, because you need to expose yourself to create advantages. They only need to steal the ball and run behind you in one transition.
“There were a lot of interruptions. Even in the first half, too many interruptions.
“Every time we found a playing advantage in half spaces, the game was interrupted with fouls, but nothing else unfolded.
“It’s difficult to find the rhythm in such a game like this. So, they went to the limit and with a lot of players in the last line.
“I think we finished better than Chippa. In the last part of the second half, we had two, three clear chances to get the three points, but it was not possible.
“The guys fought like animals again for that result, and we tried to win all three points, but it was not our best game, for sure.”
Riveiro said his side battled to strike up cohesion, and felt the numerous breaks in play made it difficult for his players.
“We couldn’t find continuity in our game,” he said.
“Every time we found a player in an advantage in a half-space, like with Patrick (Maswanganyi) in the first half, the game was interrupted with fouls.
“It’s easy to defend when you only need to make contact with a foul.
“In the second half, Chippa were looking for a goal, and they went to the limit for that. We had to adjust to a lot of things. We couldn’t be comfortable on the ball due, again, to interruptions.”
Pirates flew out from Johannesburg yesterday for their opening Champions League match against
Djabal Club in a first-round qualifying fixture in Comoros on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm).