Both teams had showed the utmost resilience in the last league encounters with AmaTuks having come from behind to clinch a 3-2 win over Moroka Swallows and Pirates having snatched a late 2-1 winner over SuperSport United.
Unfortunately none of that virtuous fighting spirit came to the fore in the clash.
For Pirates the recent victory over United was their first since the since Senzo Meyiwa was shot dead in Vosloorus.
The clash in the heart of Pretoria would set out to prove who was more tenacious between the two.
Pirates arrived at the university stadium and stamped their authority on foreign territory. The Sea Robbers were on a resurgence mission as they tried to revive their season.
The creative link for the Buccaneers in the midfield was Thabo Rakhale, who was handed a rare start by coach Vladimir Vermezovic.
Rakhale, together with the influential captain Oupa Manyisa controlled the middle of the park against their counterparts.
Manyisa ignited an attack on the opposition defence in the 13th minute with an exquisite through ball that found Sifiso Myeni on the flank. The winger delivered an appetising cross into the box that failed to find a teammate on the back-end.
Another player given a rare start was Lennox Bacela upfront to lead the attack. Pirates winger Daine Klate offered the visitors width on the flanks.
With Bacela the lone man in the strike department, many of Klate’s in-swingers into the box flight across the box with a recipient.
Pirates did not show signs of emotional depletion as they did in previous games since the tragedy. Instead, they appeared spurred on by continuing Meyiwa’s legacy.
AmaTuks on the other hand had to overcome the sudden departure of coach Steve Barker, who abandoned ship to join AmaZulu days before the match. Sammy Troughton and Sly Mosala had since jointly taken charge of the first team.
Mpho Matsi was his industrious-self in defensive midfield as he sweeped-up the danger posed by Pirates. In the 33rd minute stopped Myeni in his tracks with a goal-saving tackle.
AmaTuks striker Thabo Mnyamane was watched closely by defender Ayanda Gcaba, and was unable to impose himself on the fixture.
AmaTuks’ hard-running winger Thabo Mosadi had a below-par match on the offensive end as a result of the defending the team had to do to thwart the opposition.
Pirates ended the first half as the clear dominant team, but they had nothing to show for it over 45 minutes.
In the second half, Pirates picked up from where they left off with superior ball detention. The players surged ahead with an opening goal in mind, but the home side held firm at the back.
With 20 minutes remaining on the clock, AmaTuks were no longer competing for maximum points but for a draw.
With their formation undertaken in defence, AmaTuks absorbed the pressure until the final whistle.
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