Itumeleng Khune made a fine save from a late Aubrey Modiba free kick at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

NELSPRUIT – Saturday night’s league encounter between SuperSport United and Kaizer Chiefs at the Mbombela Stadium provided some great entertainment, but no goals.

There was a somewhat surprise debut for Amakhosi fullback Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya, a development product, although new signings Leonardo Castro, Siphelele Ntshangase and Kabelo Mahlasela were not in the squad, the latter having been injured in training.

Despite the lack of goals, the match was action-packed, high tempo and an end-to-end encounter, characterised by some excellent defending from both teams.

Chiefs started brightly and had a chance after only two minutes when Hendrik Ekstein combined with Gustavo Paez before firing a volley narrowly wide.

Paez then smashed a shot from the edge of the box over the bar in the 10th minute as Chiefs’ energetic start got the fans out of their seats at a packed arena.

But despite the pulsating tempo to proceedings, chances on goal were at a premium, and the remaining highlights of the first half were some quality tackles – from Daniel Cardoso on Teboho Mokoena, and Morgan Gould on Willard Katsande, as well as a clearance off his own line from Katsande.

A minute into the second half and Katsande should have put the Glamour Boys ahead when he was picked out by Siphiwe Tshabalala’s free kick, but the Zimbabwean headed over from point-blank range.

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SuperSport, though, were a big threat at set-pieces, and Sipho Mbule was inches away from sinking a 55th-minute free kick, while Chiefs defender Teenage Hadebe was not far off with a volley a minute later.

The excitement continued almost non-stop as another chance arose after a brilliant pass from Ekstein put Joseph Molangoane in on goal.

But SuperSport keeper Reyaad Pieterse moved smartly off his line to make the save, before Matsatsantsa broke down field and scored through Jeremy Brockie, only for his effort to be correctly ruled off-sides.

Brockie was looking increasingly hungry to break his eight-game goalless streak, and he had another chance with a 73rd-minute header which sailed wide.

Itumeleng Khune prevented Modiba from grabbing a winner five minutes from time with an excellent save from his free kick from a dangerous position, in what proved to be the last real chance of an action-packed 90 minutes in Mpumalanga.

African News Agency (ANA)