Polokwane City and Highlands Park played to a scoreless draw in their MTN8 semi-final first-leg encounter on Saturday afternoon.
Cyril Chibwe was handed another start for Polokwane in goal as their only change from their midweek draw against Chippa United, whilst Highlands made no key changes from the win over Amazulu.
Highlands made the first threat inside 11 minutes as Mothobi Mvala headed past the far corner of the net following a wide delivery into the penalty area. City attempted throwing numbers forward following the midway point, with Puleng Tlolane’s looping free-kick from the edge of the area their biggest threat of the half.
The visitors continued showcasing more grit and determination to the game’s opener, though Chibwe rallied his defensive troops to assimilate the pressure.
City picked up momentum a minute in the second half, as Nicholas Motloung went close to scoring with a near post header but Highlands shot-stopper Thela Ngobeni absorbed the danger.
Rodney Ramagalela came up against his former side for the first time since joining Highlands this season, with Tendai Ndoro making way after the 61st minute.
A swamping move through the middle opened up a low shot for Wiseman Maluleke, which Ngobeni struggled to gather at the first time of asking.
Ramagalela looked to haunt his old club in the final eight minutes after going toe-to-toe with Chibwe, but the Rise and Shine stopper came out top after making the save.
In a disappointing afternoon where neither side looked promising, the two sides settled for a share of the spoils ahead of the return-leg in three weeks time.
Polokwane: Chibwe, Mvelase, Hlongwane, Mbonani, Motloung, Manaka, Tlolane, Nene, Anas, W Maluleke, Nku.
Subs: Phali, Nthatheni, Mashumba, Chauke, J Maluleke, Phiri, Hlubi.
Highlands: Ngobeni, Mokoena, Munyai, Mbhele, Rae, Williams, Mahlangu, Mbatha, Shalulile, Mvala, Ndoro.
Subs: Etafia, Mogaila, Jooste, Mkhabela, Msane, Motlafi, Ramagalela.