Sundowns and Golden Arrows both had chances to win their PSL clash in Pretoria, but the match ended in a 1-1 draw during a riveting game marred by poor refereeing decisions
Mamelodi Sundowns and Golden Arrows played to an enthralling 1-1 draw in Pretoria on Tuesday night.
Arrows took the lead during an exciting opening half with a goal from Thamsanqa Gabuza in the 38th minute, but their slim advantage only lasted four minutes as Mvuzikile Tom was guilty of deflecting a cross into his own net. The second half ended goalless despite some dominant football from Sundowns, who would have rued a missed opportunity to take all three points.
The Brazilians started the match on the front foot, as Teko Modise and Anthony Laffor created early opportunities with some promising play at the edge of Arrows’ area.
Sundowns continued to exact heavy pressure on their opponents, but Arrows should have taken the lead with sixteen minutes on the clock as a Bonginkosi Ntuli counter-attack almost paid dividends for the visitors. The striker beat Alje Schut for pace only to slip at the vital moment and skew his promising effort out for a goal-kick.
With twenty minutes gone Katlego Mphela almost signalled his return to the Sundowns’ starting eleven with the opening goal, but his powerful header was deflected just wide of goal.
Arrows began to trouble Sundowns with increased confidence in their play as the first half entered its final fifteen minutes and had the ball in the back of the net via the foot of Thamsanqa Gabuza, but their celebrations were cut short as the player was deemed offside, a contentious and ultimately incorrect decision by the linesman.
Arrows forgot the referee’s blunder as Gabuza would not be denied again four minutes later, with an electrifying counter-attack resulting in the opener. The striker, free on goal and with only Sandilands to beat, was able to keep control of the football and slam an effort into an open net, putting Arrows into the deserved lead.
But the lead did not last long as Sundowns were lucky to find an equaliser merely four minutes after Gabuza’s strike, as Abel Mabaso sent a powerful ball across the area forcing Mvuzikile Tom to deflect the ball into his own net. An action-packed first half ended a goal apiece, with both sides looking like potential winners.
Alje Schut almost gave Sundowns the perfect start to the second stanza, but could not direct a free header past the grateful grasp of Nkosingiphile Gumede.
Neither side could find an advantage as the second half continued, with Sundowns taking off the largely ineffective Teko Modise and bringing on Edward Manqele.
Seconds after the change, Mphela came close to scoring Sundowns’ second with another header opportunity going wide after brilliant build-up play from Elias Pelembe. The Brazilians had stepped up their attacking impetus and looked likely to take the lead with half an hour to go.
Sundowns would have been cursing the football gods as Mphela missed another gilt-edged opportunity in the 70th minute, sending another header over the up-right despite being completely unmarked. The Brazilians were denied once more and were unlucky not be awarded a penalty a minute later as Edward Manqele was brought down unceremoniously by Gumede.
Arrows almost punished Sundowns late on but Wayne Sandilands produced a match-saving block, as Bonginkosi Ntuli came close to finding the winner for his side.
The match ended 1-1, a disappointing result for Sundowns who looked certain to take all three points. Arrows would have been buoyed with a point away from home, but also had opportunities to find the back of the net on more than one occasion.