SuperSport United and Kaizer Chiefs cancelled each other out in a 1-1 league draw at the Mbombela Stadium on Friday night.
Mxolisi Macuphu had put the Tshwane side ahead in as early as the second minute.
But the lead was short-lived as Khama Billiat equalised just 12 minutes later, before both goalkeepers made some outstanding saves to ensure there were no further goals.
The result ultimately suited neither team as SuperSport ended the night four points off league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, with Amakhosi now seven points off the summit with six matches to go this season.
In what was to become an open and exciting first half, it took just a minute for the first goal to arrive, as Macuphu headed into an open net after Bruce Bvuma had parried an Aubrey Modiba drive right into his path.
Chiefs responded positively and were nearly back on level terms five minutes later when Nkosingiphile Ngcobo’s shot was blocked by Ronwen Williams with the rebound falling to Leonardo Castro, but the SuperSport keeper recovered brilliantly to keep out the Colombian at point-blank range.
However, there wasn’t much Williams could do on 13 minutes when Billiat picked up the ball up near the halfway line, surged forward and then profited from a kind rebound off an opposition defender before curling a scintillating 25-yard shot into the net.
The two sides continued to trade blows, and Williams was again called into action around the half-hour mark when he reacted brilliantly to deny Willard Katsande from close range, after Ngcobo’s free kick had taken a sizable deflection.
At the other end, when Bvuma failed to deal properly with a shot from Macuphu, the ball fell to Bradley Grobler just six yards out, but with little time to react, he scuffed his shot wide.
The near-capacity crowd in Mbombela made for a riveting encounter, and the action continued after the interval.
Matsatsantsa had the first go at goal when Clayton Daniels’ header from a Modiba free kick in the 54th minute flashed inches wide of the far post.
SuperSport were by no means dominating what remained an evenly-balanced affair, although it was the team in blue who continued to enjoy the chances as Evans Rusike was denied at point-blank range by Bvuma, before Modiba went close with a 68th minute free kick.
The match became increasingly cagey in the latter stages.
And while Chiefs’ efforts in the final 15 minutes could not be faulted as they pushed for a winner, they lacked the finesse to prise open a resolute SuperSport defence, with a draw in any case a fair reflection of an absorbing game.
African News Agency (ANA)