Mamelodi Sundowns were frustrated by a resilient Orlando Pirates side in a PSL match which ended in a 0-0 draw on Tuesday evening.
Coach Pitso Mosimane made several changes to the team which faced and defeated Bidvest Wits in the Nedbank Cup semi-final match on Saturday.
Despite his poor performance against Wits, Motjeka Madisha kept his place in the starting line-up, while Lyle Lakay and Keletso Makgalwa both started as a reward for scoring over the weekend.
Mosimane's counterpart Josef Zinnbauer had to do without attackers Thembinkosi Lorch and Justin Shonga, who are both facing disciplinary action after they were found to have breached the team's protocols.
Frank Mhango and Augustine Mulenga led Bucs' attack, while Ben Motshwari started after recovering from the coronavirus with the Buccaneers looking to resume their campaign with a victory.
Sundowns got off to a lively start as they pressed Pirates in order to grab an early goal which would have unsettled the away side's leaky defence.
However, the Buccaneers were compact at the back with Happy Jele marshaling the defence which came into the game having conceded 26 goals from 23 league matches.
Masandawana upped the tempo towards the half-hour mark with Sphelele Mkhulise and Makgalwa looking to use their speed to unlock the Bucs' defence.
The duo combined well before Mkhulise set-up Themba Zwane, who forced Pirates' experienced goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands into a smart diving save at the near-post.
Pirates took control of the match towards the end of the first half, but they could not seriously test Denis Onyango in the Sundowns goal-posts and the score was 0-0 at the interval.
The Buccaneers were the better side after the restart with Zinnbauer having introduced Luvuyo Memela with the attacker bringing some creativity in the away's side midfield.
Memela set-up Fortune Makaringe, who burst into the box from midfield and unleashed a low shot which was finger-tipped onto the upright by Onyango and Madisha cleared the ball away from danger.
Uganda captain Onyango was the busier of the two keepers as he produced a fine low save to deny Memela, before finger-tipping Vincent Pule's long-range shot over the crossbar as Pirates pushed for the opening goal.
Madisha, who was having a great match at the heart of the Sundowns, produced a crucial tackle to stop Paseka Mako from pulling the trigger inside the box in the closing stages of the match.
Former South Africa under-20 captain Madisha then sustained a head injury and he was replaced by Wayne Arendse, but Sundowns were able to contain Pirates and ultimately, the match ended in a 0-0 draw.
The result saw Sundowns fail to close the gap on league log leaders Kaizer Chiefs, who are now three points above Mosimane's side.
While Pirates moved up to the third spot - four points behind second-placed Sundowns with the latter having two games in hand.