Wasteful Pirates held by Chiefs in Soweto derby
Pirate Thabo Rankale was let down by his first touch midway through the opening half at a near-full Soccer City stadium, which accommodates 93,000 spectators.
A superb pass from Riyaad Norodien set up the winger in front of goal, but his poor control allowed Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune to rush forward and snatch the ball.
Former African champions Pirates had an even better chance to break the deadlock just after half-time on a hot southern hemisphere spring day.
Zimbabwean Tendai Ndoro sprinted toward goal and crossed to unmarked Gift Motupa at the far post, but a hopeless close-range attempt flew over.
Chiefs did not have a shot on target until the 76th minute, then came close to scoring twice within 60 seconds.
Pirate Ntsikelelo Nyauza headed a goal-bound shot clear after goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo found himself stranded outside the penalty area.
Almost immediately, Chiefs substitute Siphiwe Tshabalala saw his low shot that seemed destined for the corner of the net pushed away by Mhlongo.
Chiefs finished stronger and when Pirates blocked a close-range shot from substitute Edward Manqele, three corners ensued.
However, in keeping with the poor standard of set-pieces throughout the game, none seriously threatened to create a last-gasp winning goal.
The result enabled Chiefs to regain top place in the South African Premiership on goal difference from Durban-based Golden Arrows seven rounds into the season.
Pirates remained fourth on the 16-club standings, four points behind Chiefs with a match in hand.
"There was plenty of action but, unfortunately, no goals, We had chances but did not take them," said Chiefs coach and former South Africa captain Steve Komphela.
"I thought our centre-backs Erick Mathoho and Lorenzo Gordinho and defensive midfielder Willard Katsande were outstanding.
"Where we failed was counter-attacking -- the ball was moved too slowly to catch out Pirates," he conceded.
Turkey-born Pirates coach Muhsin Ertugral said: "I am not happy with the result as we had enough scoring chances to have won, especially the one that fell to Motupa just after half-time.
"I was happy with our organisation and with a little more luck the three points would have been ours".
The latest match in the 46-year history of Soweto derbies had to take a media backstage for much of the week as Mamelodi Sundowns celebrated their first CAF Champions League title.
The Pretoria club completed a 3-1 aggregate triumph over Zamalek in Egypt last Sunday and dominated TV, radio, social media and newspaper coverage for four days.
It meant the Soweto derby -- one of the top five domestic club fixtures in Africa -- only came to the fore Friday.