JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – AUGUST 11: Keletso Makgalwa of Mamelodi Sundowns challenged by Ben Motshwari and Happy Jele of Orlando Pirates during the Absa Premiership match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates at Dobsonville Stadium on August 11, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Mamelodi Sundowns’ aspirations of lifting the Absa Premiership trophy were dented after being held to a 0-0 draw by an impressive Orlando Pirates side at the Dobsonville Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Sundowns which is trailing behind the league leaders Kaizer Chiefs with 45 points could narrow the gap to a difference of one point if they secured a victory against the on-form Orlando Pirates.

Despite missing the services of Thembinkosi Lorch and Justin Shonga Pirates started the game on a high note and enjoyed  spells of possession but they failed to create cut chances as the Sundowns defence held firm.

Despite some slick passing from both sides they failed to break the deadlock as we headed into half-time all square at 0-0.

Pirates head coach Josef Zinbauer made an early change during the break with Luvuyo Memela replacing Augustine Mulenga.

Both teams picked up early cautions in the second-half with Malawi’s talisman Gabadinho Mhango then Arthur Zwane both going into referee Victor Gomes’ book.

Pirates went agonizingly close to taking the lead in the 57th minute when goalkeeper Dennis Onyango pulled off a fingertip save to turn Fortune Makaringe’s low effort onto the post with the danger then cleared.

Sundowns made their first substitution in the 62nd minute as Andile Jali replaced Lyle Lakay.

Zinnbauer’s side continued to dominate the ball heading into the final 20 minutes but seemed to lack some magic in the final third to cut open the Sundowns defence.

Despite going into the final ten minutes of the encounter with 54% of possession Pirates couldn’t grab an arguably deserved opener as the Sundowns defence was equal to the task.

With just six Premier games left to play, Gabadinho is leading the race for Absa Premiership golden boot with 14 goals. He was hoping to widen the gap in the yesterday’s game but Sundowns denied him any penetration.

Mhango is being chased by Bradley Grobler of SuperSport United, Peter Shalulile of Highlands Park and Bongi Ntuli of Amazulu FC with 21 goals each.

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