BLOEMFONTEIN – Champions Mamelodi Sundowns were forced to settle for their fourth Premiership draw of the season, playing out to a goalless draw against Bloemfontein Celtic at the Dr Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein on Wednesday night.
It was the star-studded visitors who went closest to opening the scoring after a scratchy start to the match with Toni Silva’s 10th minute header rebounded off the crossbar. Celtic worked their way back into the match with the dangerous Ndumiso Mabena denied by ‘Downs goalkeeper Denis Onyango, who was forced to back up that save with another as Lantshene Phalane reacted sharpest to the loose ball.
As Sundowns gained control of possession it was Phakamani Mahlambi who would have the next big chance, but his free kick was nowhere near dynamic enough to trouble Patrick Tignyemb.
Both coaches had plenty of work to do in their half-time talks with Celtic needing to up their tempo if they were to challenge their superior visitors. The second half picked up as Masandawana dominated possession without the clinical final pass as they constantly squandered possession in the final third.
Silva once again failed with a header after a fine ball from the right flank although this time, he failed completely to make contact. Coach Pitso Mosimane cut a frustrated figure on the pitch before he wrung the changes with Gaston Sirino, Ali Meza and Themba Zwane all introduced in a bid to liven up their attacking options.
The changes almost worked but Sundowns were denied a winner in the 81st minute when the linesman incorrectly ruled subsitute Zwane offside, even though he did not interfere with play as Lebohang Maboe tucked home an effort after Tignyemb had parried a cross straight into his path.
The match had opened up and the home side had another chance to snatch an unlikely win after Ricardo Nasciemento gave away a free kick on the edge of his area. The Brazilian defender was spared any blushes as Mabena hacked his shot wildly over the bar as both sides were forced to settle for a point from a dull contest.
Africa News Agency (ANA)