New Mamelodi Sundowns striker Pavol Safranko netted a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Golden Arrows in their MTN8 semi-final first leg, handing the Brazilians a slight advantage of the away goal heading into the second leg.
Downs made several changes after their midweek stalemate with Chippa United as Gaston Sirino, Kermit Erasmus, Thapelo Morena, Andile Jali and Sphelele Mkhulise were all brought back into the starting XI.
Despite bringing in all their firepower, the Brazilians were pegged back early on as a Nqobeko Dlamini’s strike from distance arrowed into the bottom corner after just six minutes played, handing Arrows the perfect start.
Sundowns began to find their rhythm as the half wore on but struggled to break through a well-drilled Arrows defence.
The Brazilians looked to further ramp up the pressure in the second half, but almost conceded early again when Velemseni Ndwandwe’s looping strike from outside the box was parried over the bar by shotstopper Denis Onyango.
Grant Kekana had Sundowns’ biggest chance on the hour mark, but couldn’t hit the target after a loose ball fell to him inside the box following a corner as a frustrated Downs team struggled to find the leveller.
Sundowns looked to the bench and made several changes, including bringing on forward Pavol Safranko. The new man then made the difference as he tapped in at the front post after goalkeeper Sifiso Mlungwana spilled a low cross by Kutumela.
With 1-1 the final score, Sundowns will take the slight advantage of an away goal into the second leg.
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