Cape Town – Only the brilliance of Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango denied rookie Taahir Goedeman a game-changing moment for his side Cape Town City at the DHL Stadium in Green Point on Saturday.
The 82-capped Ugandan shot-stopper Onyango saved a brilliant 70th minute effort from Premiership debutant Goedeman, and it helped Sundowns retain another clean sheet in the eventual goalless draw.
The 21-year-old Goedeman was drawn from the ranks of City's DStv Diski Challenge League and delivered a promising performance on attack.
“It would have been brilliant if he had converted the chance he had in the second half," said City coach Eric Tinkler. "One has to give a little bit of credit to the goalkeeper.
“I thought it was a fantastic debut for a young man who has just come through the DStv Diski League, so I am happy for him.
Tinkler said the pre-match plan was to exert greater pressure on Sundowns than what City did in the MTN8 final. He felt the team did well to snuff out the twin threat posed by Themba Zwane and Thabiso Kutamela. The City defence gave the two dangermen little room to manoeuvre in the striking zone.
“It was a tough, tactical match and coming into the match we said that we need to press them harder than what we did in the MTN8 final.
"In the final, we tended to give them too much respect and time.
“In the first half, there were not really too many chances for either team. We were forced into playing a lot of long balls, which suited us a lot more.
"I thought defensively we dealt with (Themba) Twane fairly well as was the case with (Thabiso) Kutumela. They are the two creative players, and then, we dealt with the runs in behind by (Peter) Shalulile.
“In the first half, I felt there were chances which we could have created, and we did not. We had a good chance with Fagrie (Lakay) in the first half on the counter-attack.
"I felt we could have used our counter-attacks a little bit better.
“We could have played a little bit more direct but sometimes with the pressing strategy when you win it, there’s immediate pressure that’s coming and we still looking to find another pass.
“We could have found Fagrie (Lakay) in more favourable positions and we tried to rectify that at halftime. I thought the second half was pretty much the same.
“We restricted them somewhat. I don’t remember the many shots from them in the second half, a lot of long balls, balls in behind but I thought Hugo (Marques) dealt with it very well.
"Towards the end, we had one or two chances again to go win it. Overall, we are happy with the point because of the quality you played against, but I thought maybe we could have stolen it at the end."