Mamelodi Sundowns missed the chance to move within a point of Kaizer Chiefs after playing to a goalless draw with Orlando Pirates on Tuesday night.
Sundowns made two changes from their win over Bidvest Wits as Keletso Makgalwa and Lyle Lakay, who both scored in the win, were rewarded with starts. Meanwhile, Pirates announced just before the start of the match that Thembinkosi Lorch and Justin Shonga were excluded from the squad for breaching team protocol.
Sundowns enjoyed the earlier passage of play after pushing the Buccaneers high-up the pitch with possession rotation from Rivaldo Coetzee, Hlompho Kekana and Mosa Lebusa.
Wayne Sandilands made the evening’s first save after turning Themba Zwane’s near post attempt behind for a corner-kick shortly at the midway point, with Masandawana pushing from the front.
Sundowns were losing their steam in the last quarter of an hour, with Josef Zinnbauer’s troops having the momentum and the Buccaneers almost snatched the lead in this period, as Ntsikelelo Nyauza powered a bullet header a little over the bar from close range after a cross into the danger area.
Pirates were piling on the pressure and they had a good chance to net the winner in the last five minutes after Paseka Mako went clear in the centre of the box but Motjeka Madisha made a last-ditch tackle to keep Sundowns in the game.
The sides were still fancying a late winner in the latter stages but they could not get clear chances and they settled for the share of the spoils, as Sundowns moved within three points of Kaizer Chiefs in second place with 45 points while the Buccaneers moved up to third, four points behind Masandawana.