Kaizer Chiefs resumed their PSL season with a 0-0 stalemate against a steely Sundowns outfit, with both sides missing opportunities to grab the three points
Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs resumed their PSL campaigns with a 0-0 draw at the Loftus Stadium on Tuesday night.
The match was characterised by missed opportunities from both teams, as Ithumeleng Khune was the hero once again, by denying Sundowns the victory with a sublime save in the dying embers of the encounter.
Chiefs started the match with all seven of their returning Bafana Bafana players in the line-up, Stuart Baxter recognising the importance of the match-up against the Brazilians.
Sundowns also gave their Bafana players a start, with Katlego Mphela and Wayne Sandilands making the XI.
Both teams started the match playing at a high tempo, launching some promising runs down the flanks but struggled to find a final ball which could unlock their opponent’s defence.
As the first half continued more rustiness from both sides became the order of the day, as Sundowns sent in many aimless crosses which Khune collected with ease.
With twenty minutes to go in the first stanza, Chiefs began to attack with more intent but Lehlonoholo Majoro was guilty on two occasions of blunting promising moves, one engineered by Reneilwe Letholonyane, who provided a pinpoint ball for the striker over the top of Sundowns defense, but the PSL’s top scorer could not latch onto the pass.
Chiefs began to play more improvising football as the half wore on, trying to exert increased pressure on the Brazilians. But the AmaKhosi could not create a clear cut chance, which was an all too familiar theme of the first 45.
The first half ended in a frenzy of action, as both sides exchanged attacks which resulted in Chiefs coming close as Majoro’s first on-target shot of the match was parried back into danger by Wayne Sandilands and eventually cleared in desperation by the Sundowns defence. Despite the late flurry the uninspiring 0-0 score-line remained as the whistle sounded. .
The second half began with Chiefs in a more positive mind-set as Bernard Parker scuffed an ideal chance to send the AmaKhosi into the lead. George Lebese sent in a sublime cross which Parker received at the far post with the goal at his mercy, but could not time his shot and sent the ball into the wrong side of the upright.
Chiefs determination to score was apparent as they piled the pressure on their hosts with Siboniso Gaxa sending in a rasping drive which forced Wayne Sandilands into palming the ball around the post for a corner.
But the AmaKhosi struggled to continue their hold on the game despite the lively introduction of Mandla Masango, who was given twenty minutes to impress.
As the clock struck 80 minutes, Sundowns’ Method Mwanjale tried the spectacular with a drive from 40 yards out, but Khune merely watched the ball rise over his crossbar. The Bafana Bafana number one may have felt he was in for an easy night, but was on-hand seconds later as he was forced perform a brilliant save in order to keep out a Themba Zwane header.
Neither side could fashion the winner as the game ended in a stop-start 0-0 draw, but Chiefs would have felt they deserved the three points. The AmaKhosi will hope they can hang onto their slim lead on top of the PSL standings, while Sundowns may view the stalemate as a positive result.