Mamelodi Sundowns stay top after SuperSport United stalemate
CAPE TOWN - The top-of-the-table Tshwane derby between SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns ended goalless at the Lucas 'Masterpieces' Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Saturday afternoon.
The stalemate meant that Sundowns retained their unbeaten record after 12 matches in the DStv Premiership competition this season and head the standings with 25 points.
Their cross-town rivals SuperSport, in second place, are two points adrift with 23 points.
Both teams came into the match on the back of outstanding form, which has taken them to the top of the standings after 11 games.
Top dogs Sundowns were ahead by two points, but SuperSport's form in the last five rounds was slightly better since they bagged three wins as against two by Sundowns.
Sundowns were awarded the first of six first-half corners in the sixth minute. Gastón Sirino, making his first start for Sundowns this season, reeled in the corner which was well met by midfielder Mothobi Mvala but his header was wayward.
A minute later, the action transferred to the opposite end of the field as SuperSport staged a counter-attack. Kudakwashe Mahachi was set free down the middle of the field well inside Sundowns' half, but he miscued his parting shot.
SuperSport were forced to settle for a defensive role for most of the first half, but they did manage to stage a few break-outs which were always threatening.
Their best counter-attack effort came in the 21st minute when midfielder Sipho Mbuleran ran on to a feed from striker Thamsanqa Gabuza but skied his scoring effort.
By the time referee Victor Gomes called an end to the first half Sundowns had the lion's share of possession and goalscoring chances. However, despite both teams playing with three strikers upfront, the first half ended goalless.
The opening 20 minutes of the second half was played at a fiery pace as both teams looked to make a breakthrough.
Sundowns were not able to exert the same pressure as they did in the first half, but during this stage of play, they created at least three scoring chances which went abegging. Their scoring chances fell to Mosa Lebusa and Themba Zwane.
SuperSport too had chances, but both efforts which emerged in the striking zone were wide of the target.
Both teams brought on late replacements in an effort to land the decisive goal but Ronwen Williams (SuperSport) and Kenyan Denis Onyango (Sundowns) came away with clean sheets.
Sipho Mbule (SuperSport) and Lebohang Maboe (Sundowns) were yellow-carded in a match in which neither side could claim derby bragging rights.