Sundowns’ dream of finishing in the top eight was dented after a goalless draw against Usuthu at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Sunday afternoon
Usuthu surged forward in search of an early goal and Andile Khumalo came close to opening the scoring with a header in the 6th minute, but he failed to keep his effort on target.
Sundowns, without their captain Teko Modise, cheaply lost possession in the final third and their strikers had to drop deep to collect from the middle.
The game lost its tempo towards half-hour mark and both teams could not create any goalscoring opportunities despite having plenty of bodies in the midfield positions.
On 39minutes, Sundowns’ fullback Tebogo Langerman played a lovely ball to Richard Henyekane whose shot was deflected for a corner, as the score remained 0-0 at the interval.
Pitso Mosimane should have sent a strong message to his players in the dressing rooms and the Brazilians nearly grabbed an early second half lead in the 48th minute, but Hlompho Kekana wasted two glorious chances inside the penalty area as he failed to get the ball past Usuthu defence with Kapini well beaten.
Edward Mnqele then came close a few minutes later and although his shot was on target, but it lacked power to trouble AmaZulu keeper Tapuwa Kapini.
Mnqele was again played through by Kekana in the 73rd minute, but Kapini came off his line to clear the ball off his feet, as both teams looked unlikely to score.
Jabulani Shongwe was wasteful in the last 15 minutes and should have played the ball to Mnqele who was in a better scoring position, but the midfielder went for glory and his shot went wide.
Sundowns wasted another opportunity in the 82nd minute when Elias Pelembe failed to hit the target from inside the penalty area.
Usuthu then caught Sundowns on counter in the last five minutes of the game and it was Thokozani Mshengu who played a lovely ball to Kagiso Senamela who then forced Sandilands to a brilliant save.
Although AmaZulu looked stronger in the final minutes of the game, they could not penetrate the Sundowns defence, as both sides had to settle for a draw.