Mamelodi Sundowns missed the chance to top the Absa Premiership table after being held to a 1-1 draw against Polokwane City at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Tuesday, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.
Pitso Mosimane’s side last played in the Absa Premiership when they claimed a comfortable 3-0 victory over the Black Leopards on 6 February.
Heading into the game, Sundowns sit second on the league table with 34 points from 17 matches played so far this season.
Meanwhile, Jozef Vukusic’s men came into this encounter off the back of a 3-1 defeat to Maritzburg United in the last league outing.
As a result, Rise and Shine occupy eighth place on the table with 27 points from 18 games played.
In the first-round clash between the two sides, Sundowns managed to walk away with all three points after securing a 2-0 win over Polokwane back in August.
The game got off to a slow start with both teams trying to find their rhythm in the opening exchanges of the match.
However, it was Sundowns who drew first blood after 10 minutes when Themba Zwane slotted the ball past George Chigova after playing a one-two with Gaston Sirino.
Polokwane nearly levelled matters eight minutes later when Salulani Phiri unleashed a strike from distance, but Sundowns keeper Denis Onyango was on hand to make a crucial save.
Sundowns grew in confidence as the game went on and saw more possession on the ball, but were struggling to penetrate the Rise and Shine backline.
Polokwane then levelled matters just before the break when Onyango failed to hold on to Phiri’s header and deflected the ball into his own net.
The game went into the half-time interval with the scoreline level at 1-1.
The second half got off to a slow and controlled start as Polokwane looked more confident after scoring a late goal in the first half.
Ayanda Nkili kept his side in the game in the 55th minute when he made a great block to deny Lebohang Maboe’s goalbound effort.
Sundowns were dealt a major blow in the 68th minute when Wayne Arendse was stretchered off after a collision with teammate Tiyani Mabunda, and was consequently replaced by Mosa Lebusa.
Chigova came to his side’s rescue after 77 minutes when he produced a good save to deny Zwane’s effort.
Sundowns nearly took the lead four minutes later when Maboe beat Chigova in a one-on-one position, but the attacker could only find the side bar, although he was also flagged offside.
Mosimane opted to bring on a pair of fresh legs in the 83rd minute when he introduced Anthony Laffor to replace Emiliano Tade on attack for Sundowns.
Sirino had a chance to seal the game in stoppage time, but the forward failed to direct his header on target.
Both sides pushed forward in search of a winning goal, but they were forced to settle for a point each at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.
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