Pietermaritzburg - Maritzburg United's bid to finish in the Premiership top eight for the first time in their history suffered a blow after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Orlando Pirates at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday.
The Team of Choice lead through Deolin Mekoa's deflected goal after just five minutes, before Kermit Erasmus leveled with 25 minutes to play.
The result, coupled with Mamelodi Sundowns beating SuperSport United, means the Buccaneers cannot qualify for the CAF Champions League, while Maritzburg still have work to do if they want to finish in the top eight.
But they take plenty of heart from an organised performance against a Pirates team that laid siege to their goal for most of the game.
Steve Komphela's side lead when Kurt Lentjies' superb control and pass sent away Mekoa, who fired in via the trailing leg of Jele early on.
Thamsanqa Gabuza squandered two good chances for the visitors, but it was United that should have doubled the lead before the break when Mohammed Anas was put through one-on-one by Lentjies, but failed to beat the onrushing Brighton Mhlongo.
After the break Pirates had coach Eric Tinkler sent off by referee Victor Gomes, before Erasmus equalized in the 65th minute - the striker twisting on the edge of the box and firing in powerfully beyond Virgil Vries.
Lentjies should have won the game in stoppage time, but was gain denied one-on-one with Mhlongo as the game ended in a stalemate.