Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns played out a goalless stalemate in their Absa Premiership clash at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Saturday night.
In a match which started 15 minutes late due to the influx of a huge attendance at ‘Soccer City’, the two heavyweights cancelled each other out, leaving the Brazilians on top of the log with 35 points, while the Amakhosi are third on 30 points – level with Orlando Pirates and Cape Town City (who have a game in hand and play on Sunday).
Chiefs enjoyed the early chances, the first of which arrived in the eighth minute and saw Dumisani Zuma send a shot wide of the target after goalkeeper Denis Onyango had put his defence under pressure with a poor clearance.
On 14 minutes Ryan Moon headed wide of the near post from a Siphiwe Tshabalala corner kick, while midway through the first half ‘Shabba’ sent in a low cross which deflected off the knee of defender Bangaly Soumahoro and almost looped into the goal.
On 38 minutes Sundowns had a great chance to steal the lead when a poor defensive header fell perfectly for Percy Tau, but the striker’s headed effort was comfortably saved by ‘keeper Itumeleng Khune.
Sundowns made their first change a few minutes before the hour mark, withdrawing Sibusiso Vilakazi to replace him with Jeremy Brockie, while Chiefs responded quickly with the introduction of former Brazilians striker Leonardo Castro, as well as fellow South American Gustavo Paez.
Both teams may have boosted their attack with second-half substitutions, but genuine scoring chances were few and far between. Brockie had a couple of threatening moments in trying to get onto crosses from the left flank, but couldn’t make anything of either.
On 78 minutes the Amakhosi twice saw the frame of their goal hit, with Tau first striking the base of Khune’s right-hand post with a great shot on the turn, before Brockie got onto the rebound and sent a rising shot against the crossbar.
Chiefs had a good late chance of their own in the 86th minute when Willard Katsande arrived late at the far post to meet a cross, but he sent his header over the top of the target to leave the game locked at 0-0.
Chiefs: Khune, Moleko, Cardoso, Hadebe, Ngezana, Zulu, Katsande, Maluleka, Tshabalala (Paez 68’), Zuma (Ntshangase 76’), Moon (Castro 63’)
Sundowns: Onyango, Madisha, Nascimento, Soumahoro, Langerman, Manyisa, Kekana, Mabunda, Billiat (Sirino 77’), Vilakazi (Brockie 57’), Tau.