Mamelodi Sundowns went into the encounter looking to return to winning ways in the league, but their wastefulness in front of goal saw them play to a 0-0 draw with Polokwane City at the Loftus Stadium.
In the build-up to the match, Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane stated that this was a must-win game for his troops.
Despite Mosimane having one eye on Sundowns' Caf Champions League second leg encounter in Uganda, he fielded a relatively strong team as he hoped to take full advantage of their games in hand.
In the absence of talisman KhamaBilliat, Mosimane continued to play Leonardo Castro and Percy Tau upfront.
Meanwhile, Polokwane interim coach Bernard Molekwe made his presence felt as he rang the changes, but vowed before the match that his team would maintain the structure that was evident during Luc Eymael's era.
City began the game brightly but it was Sundowns who would have the first chance on goal. Sibusiso Vilakazi had a golden opportunity to fire Sundowns ahead following some brilliant work down the wing by Castro. The Colombian’s pass left Vilakazi with only the keeper to beat, but the 27-year-old squandered the opportunity as George Chigova made a comfortable save.
Minutes later, Percy Tau had another glorious chance to break the deadlock, but the dynamo failed to steer his header goal wards from close range.
While Sundowns were utilising wing play effectively, City were content to sit back and play on the counter attack. Sundowns keeper Kennedy Mweene was a spectator for the better part of the first half and watched on as the Brazilians bossed the midfield.
Unlike Mweene, City’s keeper Chigova was a busy man on the night. The Zimbabwean was forced into another save as he kept his team in the game with a good save following a dangerous pass from Castro which Tau failed to capitalise on.
Sundowns were undeniably dominant during the first half, but the final ball was eluding the defending PSL champions. They would experience a massive blow as the half-time was drawing to a close. Vilakazi, who was arguably one of Sundowns’ best players on the night, had to be stretchered off the field with what looked like a serious injury. He was replaced by Anthony Laffor.
In the 42nd minute, Castro found himself with a free run on goal, but the lanky striker shot straight at Chigova, before Laffor was denied by the same keeper on the stroke of half-time.
Both teams went into the interval deadlocked. Sundowns would have been disappointed as they could not turn their dominance into goals.
The beginning of the second half saw the Polokwane-based outfit forced into a change as Rendani Ndou came off injured.
Sundowns were almost made to rue their numerous missed chances as Mweene was forced into a top save. Walter Musona found himself through on goal, but the Zambian keeper dived to his left to deny the Polokwane City striker. Sundowns fans at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium had a worrying expression on their faces as the tide turned.
City had the African champions under the cosh, but Sundowns showed effective defensive resolve.
With 10 minutes remaining on the clock, Tau squandered a great chance to break the deadlock, but the 22-year-old failed to beat Chigova from close range.
Sundowns bombarded the City box in the closing stages, but could not find the breakthrough, and they had to settle for a share of the spoils.