Still going strong…Teko Modise who scored Mamelodi Sundowns’ goal against Kaizer Chiefs
MAMELODI Sundowns held log-leading Kaizer Chiefs to their second Premiership draw of the season after a hard-fought 1-1 stalemate at FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Teko Modise broke the deadlock nine minutes after the halftime break for his second Premiership goal of the season, but George Lebese cancelled out Modise’s stunning curled effort shortly after to salvage a point for the league leaders, who have dropped just four points after 11 games and remain in control at the top of the table.
Twelve points and four league spots separated Chiefs and Sundowns heading into the clash, but the point allowed Pitso Mosimane’s side to climb temporarily up to second place with 17 points, along with three other teams.
The draw was the fourth in a row for Sundowns, who last won on September 28 against Polokwane City, and a second point for Amakhosi, who remain unbeaten in the league and move to 29 points.
A look back at the pair’s defensive record pointed to a tight affair. Chiefs had kept six out of 10 clean-sheets before Saturday, while Sundowns had leaked a single goal from their last six league outings.
The first half went according to script with neither able to deliver the hammer blow at crucial stages. Themba Zwane and Modise tried their luck early on, while Kingston Nkhatha scuffed a promising chance inside the area after good supply from Siphiwe Tshabalala.
Modise had the best chance of the half seconds before the interval when a brilliant break from Khama Billiat allowed the Brazilians to set-up their midfield maestro, but Modise’s shot trickled wide of Khuzwayo’s upright.
A livelier second period began with Chiefs taking the fight to their visitors, Nkhatha blocked inside the area by Sundowns skipper Alje Schut, who was back in the team for the first time since the end of September following a knee injury.
Sundowns, however, stole the lead against the run of play as Modise’s curler beat Brilliant Khuzwayo to the top right corner, after Cuthbert Malajila had set-up the crafty playmaker in a dangerous position.
Bafana Ba Style’s lead lasted all of 12 minutes as Chiefs drew level, thanks to Lebese inside the box.
A solid build-up allowed Chiefs space for second-half replacement Bernard Parker, who sprayed a pass out to his teammate.
Lebese took a touch and composed himself, before hoofing his shot toward the far post, beating Kennedy Mweene to pull back the all-important equaliser 24 minutes from the end.
The coaches used the remaining minutes sparingly, preferring to sit back in defence of their slender 1-1 standoff.
Stuart Baxter, in his 101st match in charge of the Soweto giants, brought on George Maluleka for eight minutes as the former SuperSport midfielder continued his path back to full fitness.
Mosimane took the chance to hand Rheece Evans his first ever cap for the Brazilians after the defender joined from Maritzburg United before the start of the new season.
Both had their chances to win it but it ended in a share of the spoils as Sundowns walked away the happier of the two, having taken points off their Soweto rivals, while ensuring they keep in touch with the top of the table.
Elsewhere Polokwane City’s fairy-tale continued with a 2-1 victory away to Mpumalanga Black Aces at Kanyamazane Stadium in Nelspruit while Free State Stars registered yet another lost and this time 2-0 away to BidVest Wits at the BidVest Stadium while Moroka Swallows suffered a 3-2 defeat in the hands of the University of Pretoria at the Dobsonville Stadium with title chasers, Ajax Cape Town playing to a goalless draw at home against Maritzburg United.
League action continues today with SuperSport United welcoming Orlando Pirates at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokkwane while Bloemfontein Celtic entertain Chippa United at the Free State Stadium. The two matches starts at 3.30pm.-www.psl.co.za with additional report by Nakampe Lekwadu.