Mamelodi Sundowns fought back to hold Stellenbosch FC to a 1-1 draw in the DStv Premiership match at the Danie Craven Stadium on Saturday night.
The draw saw Stellies and Masandawana remain fourth and at the top of league standings respectively with Lyle Lakay having cancelled out Junior Mendieta’s opening goal.
Junior Mendieta caused problems for the Masandawana defence with his sharp movements in the opening stages and he was brought down in the box by Andile Jali, but the match referee Philangenkosi Khumalo ignored calls for a penalty.
Sundowns grew into the match and they looked dangerous from set-pieces which saw Grant Kekana’s effort being tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Sage Stephens after he had connected with Lyle Lakay’s free-kick in the 27th minute.
Stephens then pulled off a fantastic diving save to deny Thabiso Kutumela after the Stellies defence was exposed in the 33rd minute as the defending champions searched for the opening goal with Stellies looking dangerous on the counter.
Stellies were awarded a penalty after the speedy Ashley Du Preez was fouled in the box by Khuliso Mudau in the 42nd minute and Mendieta made no mistake from the spot-kick as he fired past keeper Kennedy Mweene to Stellenbosch a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
The introduction of Thapelo Morena prior to the start of the second-half injected some speed into the Masandawana’s right flank and they managed to level matters after some good work by Bafana Bafana international Kutumela.
Kutumela cut inside from the right hand side, before setting up Lyle Lakay, who was afforded some space and time on the edge of the Stellies box and he unleashed a powerful low shot which beat Stephens to make it 1-1 in the 59th minute.
Masandawana were dominating the midfield battle and coach Steve Barker decided to introduce experienced central midfielder Granwald Scott in the 70th minute as the home side looked to regain control of the match.
However, the Tshwane giants continued to dominate the game in the closing stages as Stephens was forced to deny Morena, whose deflected shot was heading for the near-post, before the Stellies keeper dived to his left to gather Lakay’s curling shot and ultimately, the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Stellenbosch (1) 1 (Mendieta 43′)Sundowns (0) 1 (Lakay 59′)TEAMS
Stellenbosch:Stephens, Mcaba, Kwinika, Johannes, Van Rooyen, Letsoenyo, Jabaar, Adams (Sinkala 89′), Dimgba (Scott 70′) Du Preez (Isaacs 90’+2), Mendieta (Khunyedi 90’+2).
Mamelodi Sundowns:Mweene, Lebusa, Mudau (Morena 46′), Coetzee, Lakay, Kekana, Jali, Domingo (Safranko 58′), Kutumela (Erasmus 80′), Zwane (Modiba 80′), Shalulile.© Backpage TXT