Mamelodi Sundowns and Baroka FC played to a 1-1 draw on Monday evening at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium, earning a point to extend their lead at the top of the table.
Masandawana handed Teboho Mokoena his first start since he joined the club, and also featured Grant Kekana amongst the substitutes after months of nursing an injury. The visitors opened the scoring in Polokwane thanks to a moment of brilliance from Lyle Lakay four minutes into the second half, but Richard Mbulu levelled the scoring late on to ensure the points were shared.
After a tough start away from home, The Brazilians began to settle and created a few chances to test Baroka’s goalie Elvis Chipezeze, in particular a combination in attack between Themba Zwane and Bradley Ralani who then won a free kick just outside the box. Left-footer Lakay had his first goal scoring opportunity against Bakgakga, but denied by the goalkeeper who quickly handed his team a counter attacking moment towards goal, Evidence Makgopa effort was pushed out by Downs goalie Denis Onyango.
The referee pointed to the penalty spot after what seemed to be a handball by Rushine De Reuck who went for a low diver clearing the ball out of danger,and Basil Mphahlele who had stepped up to take the penalty and put Baroka ahead, fired a long shot off target as the ball went over the goalposts and kept Masandawana in the game.
Before going into the half time break, there were relative moments of counter attacks from both sides of the team, Baroka showed confidence in their attacking schemes whenever they had the ball but let down by their final touch towards Denis Onyango’s post. Meanwhile the defending Champions didn’t stop in searching for their opening goal to settle the matter and take the lead, but just like the opposition, Downs attempts at goal were unsuccessful. As the encounter went into the break, The Brazilians had 61% of the ball possession, leaving Bakgakga with 39%.
Bafana Ba Style started the second half brightly and got in on goal, timelessly testing Talent Chipezeze who stood no chance against Lakay’s perfectly shot long range goal at the top corner to give Downs a lead. The home team unsettled Masandawana but lacked the necessary killer touch up front to find the equaliser, and neither goalkeeper was forced into making any save of note after Lakay’s strike was denied by the woodwork, with his long range shot coming crashing off the top of the bar.
Sundowns made substitutions at the half hour mark, Mothobi Mvala and Lesedi Kapinga came on to replace Mokoena and Ralani. Moments after the substitutions were made, Erwin Saavedra, who had come in place of Pavol Safranko as a forced substitute due to an injury, played a low cross to connect with Peter Shalulile who scored one for The Brazilians, however his goal was called for offside. The presence of Kapinga matched matched greatly with Khuliso Mudau who was playing on the right side of the field, the two players were instrumental in attacking Bakgakga, penetrating through the the defence and finding Bolivia international Saavedra who took his chance at goal but took a deflection before Chipezeze collected the ball.
With four minutes of additional time to play, Baroka’s efforts to find an equaliser finally paid off, Richard Mbuli fired an effort to the upright from the edge of the box unexpectedly while Downs defence was finding their feet. A 1-1 draw between the two sides concluded.
This is how we lined up:
- Onyango © , B. Ralani (60′ Kapinga), L. Lakay, B. Onyango, R. De Reuck, A. Jali, T. Mokoena (60′ Mvala), P. Safranko (42 Saavedra), K. Mudau, T. Zwane (79′ Kekana), P. Shalulile (79′ Maema).
- Mweene, A. Modiba, D. Lunga, T. Morena, M. Mvala, E. Saavedra, N. Maema, G. Kekana, L. Kapinga.