Mamelodi Sundowns and Marumo Gallants shared the points from a 1-1 draw at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Thursday.
Gallants tested home stopper Ricardo Goss with a penalty from Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo and while Lesedi Kapinga equalized for The Brazilians before heading into the break. Downs continued to get forward at will into dangerous areas with Kapinga who played a key role in the hosts attack.
Aubrey Modiba blazed over at the first attempt in attack in the opening minutes of the encounter following a delivery upfront from Andile Jali to split Gallants’ defense.
Despite Masandawana dominating the early possession and settling quickly with probing attacks, the visitors forced Goss to make saves. The home side was able to build from the back and run forward with purpose onto a through ball in the right channel, Thapelo Morena beat his man off the mark and delivered a hard cross cleared out by the defenders, followed by Peter Shalulile’s effort going wide off target.
Masandawana came on strong in the closing stages of the opening half, the two teams went into the first break on leveled matters.
A quick change in attack nearly reaped rewards for the Tshwane giants who eventually worked the spaces to get a free kick, Kapinga’s long range forced Gallant’s goalkeeper King Ndlovu to make the save.
The second period continued to be more of ball rotation amongst Bafana Ba Style with the team looking for spaces to play the ball and move in attack. Gallants had their moments of brilliance as the game approached a near end and Brian Onyango’s crucial clearance to stop Lerato Lamola’s attempt at goal was enough to deny Marumo an opportunity to extend their lead. Neo Maema, Gift Motupa, George Maluleka, Sifiso Ngobeni and Sibusiso Vilakazi came off the bench to provide more significant attack for The Brazilians.
Masandawana were on the hunt for maximum points, Motupa had his attempt as soon as he stepped on the pitch, Modiba’s goal scoring shot which was his most presentable chance was denied by Ndlovu as the game approached a near end.
The defending Champions ended the 2021 year with a 1-1 draw and remained top of the log in the DStv Premiership.
This is how we lined up: R. Goss, B. Onyango, R. Nascimento, T. Morena, L. Lakay (70′ Motupa), S. Mkhulise (76′ Maluleka), A. Jali © (90′ Vilakazi), A. Modiba (90′ Ngobeni), L. Kapinga (76′ Maema), T. Zwane, P. Shalulile
Subs: K. Mweene, K. Mudau, S. Ngobeni, M. Mvala, S. Vilakazi, N. Maema, G. Maluleka, P. Safranko, G. Motupa.