Mamelodi Sundowns failed to close the gap on log leaders Kaizer Chiefs after playing out to a goalless draw with Orlando Pirates at Dobsonville Stadium on Tuesday evening, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.
Pitso Mosimane made two changes to his squad beating Bidvest Wits this past weekend by naming Lyle Lakay and Keletso Makgalwa in the starting lineup.
Josef Zinnbauer, meanwhile, named Innocent Maela and Augustine Mulenga in place of Thembinkosi Lorch and Justin Shonga, who were dropped from the squad for breaching team protocols.
The game got off to a slow start, with both teams trying to get a feel of the pitch in the early exchanges of the match.
Sundowns produced the first real chance of the game when Themba Zwane forced Wayne Sandilands into a good save to deny the winger at the near post.
Both sides started to grow into the game after the half-hour mark but lacked the composure in the final third.
However, Sundowns would feel they should have been awarded a penalty 10 minutes before the break after Happy Jele appeared to have handled the ball inside the area, but the referee was not convinced.
Vincent Pule, meanwhile, had a chance to break the deadlock two minutes from time but blazed his effort wide of goal.
The match went into half time with the scoreline locked at 0-0.
Zinnbauer made a substitution early in the second half when Luvuyo Memela came on to replace Mulenga.
Pirates nearly took the lead in the 57th minute but Fortune Makaringe hit the woodwork with his effort.
Mosimane made his first change of the game after 62 minutes when Lyle Lakay was taken off in place of Andile Jali.
Denis Onyango was called into action seven minutes later when he got up high to knock the ball over the upright after Pule tried his luck from distance.
Mosimane made a double change after a short water break when he replaced Makgalwa and Mosa Lebusa with Jose Ali Meza and Teboho Langerman, respectively.
Ntsikelelo Nyauza had a great opportunity to hand Pirates the lead in the 75th minute but guided his header over the target from close range.
Motjeka Madisha kept his side in the game with six minutes left to play when he made a crucial block to deny Paseka Mako in the box.
Mosimane opted to make to changes in stoppage time when Madisha Zwane made way for Wayne Arendse and Sibusiso Vilakazi, respectively.
Both teams pressed forward in search of the winning goal in the closing stages of the game, but neither were able to find the net as they walked out with a point each at the end of the match.
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