Continental champions, Mamelodi Sundowns were forced to a 1-1 draw against the University of the Western Cape in Sunday’s crunch encounter at Tuks Stadium.
The Brazilians grabbed the opener through Chuene Morifi before Ntombifikile Ndlovu levelled matters as UWC earned a share of the spoils.
Coach Jerry ‘Kappa’ Tshabalala deployed a starting XI of Sedilame Bosija in goal while Regina Mogolola, Zanele Nhlapho, and Tiisetso Makhubela marshalled the defense line.
Chuene Morifi, Boitumelo Rabale, Oratile Mokwena, Nonhlanhla Mthandi, and Lehlogonolo Mashigo started in midfield, supporting Chantelle Esau and Lelona Daweti who started up front.
Banyana Ba Style began the game on the front foot with several attacking runs from Chuene Morifi who tested the opposition goalkeeper from close range in the opening passage of play.
Coach Tshabalala’s troops continued to apply the pressure with Morifi breaking the deadlock 10 minutes before the halftime break. The goal was her fourth of the season.
Boitumelo Rabale came close in the dying minutes of the first half but was unable to convert her chance.
After the break, the visitors found their momentum and were duly rewarded with a strike from Ntombifikile Ndlovu.
Kappa rang in the changes with Boitumelo Rabale, Lehlogonolo Mashigo, and Oratile Mokwena paving the way for Lerato Kgasago, Melinda Kgadiete, and Thalea Smidt respectively.
Despite the late introduction of Thembelihle Masibi for Lelona Daweti, Sundowns Ladies were denied several goal-scoring opportunities to seal the win.
Kappa was pleased with the team’s performance despite struggling to break down a resolute UWC side.
“It was a very tough encounter against one of the most inform sides in the league at the moment. Like I said during the build-up to the game, Thinasonke Mbuli has done a very good job with this team, and I am not surprised with the fearlessness they possess in their games. Although we could have loved to win the game, I am still happy with the way we fought gallantly. There is a lot of football to be played in the next few weeks and we will take our lessons and move on to the next,” Kappa stated.
The draw means Sundowns Ladies have registered 46 points after accumulating 15 wins and one draw in 17 games played. The Brazilians have scored a league-high 72 goals and have conceded only 10 times, the best defense in the league. Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies also have a mammoth goal difference of +63.
Well done to the team for a hard-fought point!