PRETORIA – Baroka FC put up a spirited performance at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Tuesday night to hold defending league champions Mamelodi Sundowns to a 0-0 Premiership draw.
Overall, Masandawana had the better of the chances, but the visiting side should take credit for their efforts and it was probably a deserved point for Wedson Nyirenda and his men.
It was Sundowns who had the bulk of the half-chances, although for the most part the Baroka defence was not really troubled.
The hosts made a bright start, with visiting keeper and Man-of-the-Match Elvis Chipezeze forced into two saves within the opening two minutes to keep out Gaston Sirino and Hlompho Kekana.
Kekana also went close with a 27th minute from 20-yards out which curled just over the crossbar, before Chipezeze made a fairly routine stop on Jeremy Brockie's 35th minute half volley from the edge of the box.
Baroka's best first half moment came a minute before the interval when Mduduzi Mdantsane played in Jemondre Dickens, who in trying to unselfishly pick out an unmarked teammate at the back post with a square pass, allowed Sundowns midfielder Lebohang Maboe to get back and back a brilliant clearance off his own line.
Chipezeze was certainly the busier of the two keepers and he made two good saves either side of halftime to keep out a Kekana free kick and a glancing header from Brockie.
After what had been a stuttering first half, the game was to burst into life after the restart, the match open and end-to-end.
On the hour mark, the Limpopo team looked to be denied a clearcut penalty after Lyle Lakay appeared to have kicked Dickens in the box, but referee Phillip Tinyani was not interested.
The game continued to be played at a high tempo, and it was credit to Baroka's energy and commitment that they continued to match Sundowns blow-for-blow, following their extra time and penalty shoot-out win in the Telkom Knockout against Orlando Pirates just three days ago.
However, despite both teams' attacking intent, there were to be no more chances on goal, due to a combination of some good defending, and a couple of final passes around the box just not coming off, for Sundowns in particular.
African News Agency (ANA)