Cape Town - There was not too much in the way of Christmas cheer for Moroka Swallows at the Philippi Stadium on Wednesday night - a 0-0 draw with Vasco da Gama sees them remain winless in the league.
The Johannesburg side ended the game with nine men after the sending off of Roger da Costa midway through the second half, while Oscar Machapa joined him back in the change-room just before the final whistle.
On the balance of first half play, Vasco were by far the stronger side on the park and would have been disappointed to go into the break at 0-0.
Their best chances fell to Sibusiso Zuma, but after four minutes he was unable to gain control of his footing following a cross from Zeka Karkee when the goal would have been at his mercy.
After 30 minutes Zuma's attempted chip was deflected wide of goal, while just before the half time break he was inches way from getting a foot to Jonathan Armogam's clever cross from the right.
Keenin Lesch also looked to get on the score-sheet for the Cape side, but had a couple of shots saved by Greg Etafia.
The Birds' only real chance came after 15 minutes, when Aidan Jenniker's slack play allowed Siyabonga Nomvethe in on goal.
He in turn played it to Auguston Leonard, but the young striker's finishing touch from a tight angle was lacking.
The first chance of the second stanza fell to Siyabonga Nomvethe, but Posnett Omony moved smartly off his line to make a good save.
Ten minutes into the half and the hosts had a good opportunity when Zuma bore down on goal, but he could not control his volley, sending it over the bar.
At times the Cape side's build-up play was outstanding, but it could just not produce the end product, again on the hour mark a promising move ended only with Lesch's shot being blocked.
The Birds however continued to show more commitment in attack in the second half and when Shivambu played in Nomvethe in the 62nd minute - a goal looked on the cards, but Omony made an excellent stop.
Zuma then ensured Etafia was on his toes with a stinging shot, before Omar Hendricks came close when his 80th minute free kick skimmed the bar, while Shivambu gave Omony a scare when his injury time free kick went just wide.