Mamelodi Sundowns were held to a 1 – 1 draw by Sekhukhune United at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Peter Shalulile scored at the brink of half time following a superb build-up in play from Themba Zwane and Gaston Sirino, passing the ball into Shalulile’s path before firing beyond Toaster Nsabata on the bounce.
Masandawana’s usual slick attacking play kept the home team on their toes in the opening 45-minutes, Shalulile came close to goal early in the start of the game but his goal was denied after being called for an offside. The Tshwane giants continued to threaten Babina Noko in their half, Khuliso Mudau’s shot at goal narrowly went past Nsabaa’s top post, followed by Aubrey Modiba’s long range shot a few minutes later.
The Brazilians took charge of the encounter by dominating possession and winning the ball whenever the hosts tried to find their own players, forcing Sekhukhune to defend deep and look to play on the counter-attack. After 30 minutes of trying to penetrate through the defense, Mshishi had the chance to shoot in the box but slipped before he could connect with the ball and Sekhukhune regained possession and dispatched the danger.
Roderick Kabwe of Sekhukhune fired a shot from outside the box but caused no problems for Ronwen Williams who had little action in the encounter. Bafana Ba Style were awarded with their first free kick after Nyiko Mobbie’s handball outside the penalty area, three Sundowns players stepped up but it was Modiba who took the shot at goal before the ball went over the bar.
A brilliant build up in play amongst Mudau, Zwane and Sirino set up Namibian international Shalulile on to get his third league goal in the DStv Premiership. Zwane combined a fine pass to Sirino who beat the offside trap before passing to Shalulile who went into the net with the ball to give Masandawana a lead in the game before the referee’s whistle brought an end to the first half in Polokwane.
The visitors were much improved after the break, Downs lost the ball as they resumed play in the second half and Sekhukhune charged forward in attack after stealing the ball from the center line. Linda Mntambo pulled one back for Babina Noko in less than a minute of the restart with an assist from his teammate Tshegofatso Mabasa.
Neo Maema was booked for foul play on Mntambo shortly after the home side equalized, however Sekhukhune could not extend their lead from the free kick given to them. The battle continued and much improved attack after the break was shown by The Brazilians, stretching the home side with their play out wide. Zwane was in action again with a long shot at goal and this time came closer to Nsabata’s goalposts.
Shalulile had a chance to score a brace in the 60th minute, finding himself in the box before lining up his shot, Sello Motsepe made no mistakes in clearing out the ball and a corner kick was awarded to Sundowns. Sirino followed up with a chance to extend the lead from the corner kick, but the 31-year-old winger struck to the top of the net.
Mosiatlhage Abednego let Downs off the hook when he fired into the hands of Williams five minutes before the game concluded. The Brazilians looked more fierce in the closing stages of the second half, Shalulile and Sipho Mbule’s efforts to steal the winning goal were denied by Nsabata and both teams walked away with a point each.
This is how we lined up: R. Williams, A. Modiba (82′ Lakay), K Mudau (82′ Morena), B. Onyango, R. De Reuck, T. Mokoena, S. Mkhulise, N. Maema (82′ Kapinga), T. Zwane (82′ Mbule), G. Sirino (73′ Kutumela), P. Shalulile
Subs: K. Mweene, T. Morena, M. Lebusa, M. Mvala, L. Kapinga, A. Jali, L. Lakay, S. Mbule, T. Kutumela