The home side created plenty of scoring opportunities but were let down by some errant finishing that left them having to settle for a point when they really should have claimed all three on offer.
It took a while for both teams to settle into a rhythm, but Leopards found their footing first and looked dangerous against a rusty-looking Pirates defence.
The Buccaneers were inches away from going behind in the 22nd minute, with Junior Mouzit cutting inside from the left before unleashing a dipping shot that brushed the top of Senzo Meyiwa’s crossbar.
Leopards’ main danger came from athletic striker and captain Rudy Ndey, but the visitors gave him too little support up front and weren’t able to bring him into the game as much as they would have liked.
Pirates were guilty of the same thing with their striker, debutant Lennox Bacela. He had just one chance in the first half, a 33rd minute header from a Happy Jele cross that he was unable to direct on target.
Daine Klate and Sifiso Myeni also created great chances for one another that they were unable to take advantage of, as Pirates dialled up the pressure in the closing minutes of the first half.
The second half continued in much the same manner as the end of the first, with Bucs dominating possession and often threatening a goal. They came closest in the 49th minute when Bacela’s header from a corner kick was cleared off the goal line.
From then on it was just pure frustration for the Soweto giants, who were unable to find the back of the net. Leopards threatened sporadically, but in truth they were satisfied to hold out for the draw on the road.
Pirates’ next Champions League game will be ‘away’ to Al Ahly at a neutral venue (due to political instability in Egypt) in early August.