Mamelodi Sundowns were frustrated by Bloemfontein Celtic in a 2020-21 DStv Premiership match which ended in a 0-0 draw at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Tuesday.
Masandawana remain at the top of the standings as a result – but just a point above second-placed Swallows FC who are in action tomorrow, while Phunya Sele Sele continue to occupy 11th spot.
The Brazilians pressed Phunya Sele Sele from the first whistle as they looked to grab an early goal which would have unsettled the visitors’ defence. The hosts attempted to play crosses into the Celtic box for strikers Kermit Erasmus and Peter Shalulile, but Celtic’s defence was able to clear their attempts from danger.
Mothobi Mvala connected with a cross from Themba Zwane in the 22nd minute, but the former Highlands Park midfielder placed his header wide of the target.
The Celtic defence, which was marshalled by Orlando Pirates loanee Justice Chabalala, was looking solid and impenetrable. Sundowns continued to push for the opening goal as Erasmus’ shot was blocked in the box, before Zwane’s shot hit the side-netting on the half-hour mark.
Jackson Mabokgwane, on the day of his 33rd birthday, was finally seriously tested in the Celtic goal-posts in the 36th minute and he made a fine save to deny Erasmus following a good team move by the hosts.
Shalulile thought he had broken the deadlock early into the second-half after connecting with Tebogo Langerman’s cross, but the goal was disallowed for handball as Sundowns continued their assault on the Celtic goal following the interval.
Celtic were forced into making a change after Mabokgwane went down injured and he was replaced by Sipho Chaine in the 53rd minute. Masandawana continued to dominate the match and Erasmus was unlucky not to score as his effort beat Chaine, only for the crossbar to come to Celtic’s rescue.
Gaston Sirino, Lesedi Kapinga and Aubrey Modiba were all introduced by Sundowns at the same time as the home side pushed for the opening goal.
However, Chaine was in top form between the sticks for Phunya Sele Sele as he denied Kapinga and Erasmus in the closing stages of the encounter.
The 24-year-old keeper then gathered a low cross from Sirino before Shalulile could pounce in the last minute and ultimately, the match ended in a 0-0 draw.
Mamelodi Sundowns 0
Bloemfontein Celtic 0
Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango, Morena, Lebusa, Langerman (Modiba 71′), Mandela (Majadibudu 82′), Maluleka, Mvala (Sirino 71′), Maboe, Zwane (Kapinga 71′), Erasmus (Makgalwa 82′), Shalulile.
Bloemfontein Celtic: Mabokgwane (Chaine 53′), Baloyi, Chabalala, Lingwati, Rikhotso, Pfumbidzai, Phalane, Tchilimbou, Sera (Kobedi 81′), Fikizolo, Luthuli.