MAMELODI Sundowns came from behind to earn a valuable point following a 1-1 draw against Golden Arrows at Loftus Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Thamsanqa Gabuza opened the scoring midway through the first-half, although Siphamandla Sithole’s own-goal meant the sides would share the spoils, with Sundowns staying eighth in the standings, while Arrows went four points clear of the relegation zone after 19 league matches.
The Brazilians got in their first shot on target just one minute after the kick-off, Anthony Laffor’s rasping drive bringing a fine save from Nkosingiphile Gumede, while moments later Abel Mabaso was teed up nicely by Teko Modise, but saw his shot from inside the area quickly closed down by the defence.
Downs enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the opening 15 minutes, and a sweeping move from defence to attack resulted in a delivery being played invitingly across the face of goal, but the bounce took the ball out of the path of the on-rushing Katlego Mphela, who only just missed the touch that would have diverted the ball into the back of the net.
Moments later and Arrows created a really good chance to open the scoring, a quick counter-attack seeing Bonginkosi Ntuli push the ball around Alje Schut to run through on goal, although a slip at the vital moment saw the striker skew his shot wide of the mark.
Downs threatened at the other end from a free kick out wide, although after rising highest in the area Mphela saw his well-placed header deflected just the wrong side of the post.
Arrows had the ball in the back of the net shortly after the half-hour mark as Thamsanqa Gabuza swept home after Wayne Sandilands had spilled an initial shot, but the celebrations were cut short as the linesman’s flag went up for off-side, although replays showed the assistant may have got it wrong, with Modise appearing to have played the Arrows man on.
Shortly before the break the visitors stole into the lead, Gabuza being played clean through on goal following a swift counter-attack, and although Sandilands was off his line in a flash to get in a tackle, the forward had the luck of the bounce and continued his run to eventually smash the ball into the back of an empty net.
Right before the half-time break the hosts drew themselves level, with Abel Mabaso getting on the end of a flick-on at the far post before firing the ball back across the area, and Sithole instinctively stuck out a foot, only to see the ball deflected past his own goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Pitso Mosimane’s men had a good chance to take the lead right after the restart as Tebogo Langerman’s free-kick picked out the unmarked Alje Schut, but his header was straight at the keeper who was able to make a comfortable save.
Elias Pelembe had a golden chance after finding himself in acres of shooting space just a few yards out from goal, but his fierce effort was straight at Sandilands and the ball was deflected away to safety.
Chances proved less frequent in the second period, although Mphela found himself completely unmarked to get on the end of a brilliant ball into the area, but he could only head wide of the up-right after Sandilands had been stranded on the other side of the big-box.
Sundowns should have been awarded a penalty midway through the second-half as Edward Manqele was brought down inside the area by Gumede, but neither the referee nor the linesman spotted it and play went on, much to the chagrin of the striker, and the home support.
Both sides had golden chances to steal the lead in the closing minutes, Sandilands first pulling off a goal-saving block to keep out Ntuli’s close-range shot, while at the other end Manqele’s powerful drive from the edge of the area was denied by the width of the up-right.
In another league match played last night in Cape Town, Ajax Cape Town played to a 2-2 draw against the visiting Bloemfontein Celtic at the Athlone Stadium.-www.football411.com