Durban — Mamelodi Sundowns ended 2021 on a frustrating note as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Marumo Gallants at Loftus Versfeld.
Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo gave Gallants the lead from the penalty just after the half hour mark. The penalty was awarded after Downs defender Ricardo Nascimento was adjudged to have handled the ball in his own penalty area.
Sundowns goalkeeper Ricardo Goss dived the right way for the spot-kick but the power Ndlondlo used meant that very few keepers in world football would have saved his effort.
It did not take Masandawana very long to respond. Just a few minutes later, Lesedi Kapinga equalized from close range. Kapinga showed good composure to get the better of Katlego Otadisa near the goal.
Gallants goalkeeper King Ndlovu had luck on his side in the early stages of the game. Andile Jali first sent in a good pass to Aubrey Modiba before the goalkeeper saved. Just six minutes later, Modiba found himself in a good position again before Ndlovu made a comfortable save.
Shortly afterwards, Gallants had another counter as Ndlondlo forced a save from Ricardo Goss.
Gallants nearly scored following a breakaway. Sibusiso Khumalo was played in but his shot thundered away off the post.
Early in the second half, Kapinga fired on target from a free-kick but his effort lacked power as Ndlovu made an easy save. A ball was played to Lerato Lamola in the 65th minute but the 35-year-old could not get a finishing touch on the ball.
Sundowns appeared to start tiring towards the latter end of the second half as Gallants appeared to start taking control of the game.
There is no doubt that Gallants will be the happier side based on the outcome from the game. The Limpopo-based side was evidently resorting to time-wasting tactics towards the latter end of the game as they looked to preserve a point.
Sundowns will be frustrated as they dropped two points and failed to take their chances. The hectic December schedule appeared to have taken a toll on Masandawana as they were evidently fatigued.
While they will be frustrated based on the outcome of their past two games, they still lead the log by several points.
Both teams will be in action when the league resumes on the 16th February. Sundowns will host Chippa United at Loftus Versfeld while Gallants will also host Baroka FC at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.