Mamelodi Sundowns played to a tepid draw against AmaTuks despite their early domination of the game
Mamelodi Sundowns and Pretoria University cancelled each other out and shared a point apiece at the Tuks Rugby Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Mamelodi Sundowns, bottom of the table and desperate to overcome their early season crises, faced an AmaTuks team placed fifth on the table and brimming with confidence.
Played in a stormy Tshwane, the game was decided by two goals in the first half. Neither side was able to ram home the advantage for the rest of the game as it finished a paltry draw.
The Brazilians looked determined as they stepped out onto the pitch and their early domination of proceedings resulted in the first goal, a curling strike by Anthony Laffor in the 15th min. But once more they faltered in defence as Junior Sibande beat his markers to a header in the 30th minute and AmaTuks were on level terms again.
Sundowns showed early defensive frailties early on as Ngwenya was given space to turn and power a strike straight at Wayne Sandilands who was up to the task with a firm catch.
But the Brazilians controlled possession from then on, looking to break down Amatuk’s defensive line. Their first goal was created due to some quick passing and movement in the midfield finished by Anthony Laffor in the 15th minute.
Laffor, given too much some space on the edge of the box, curled in an accurate right-footed strike which Washington Arubi could not get a hand on. The ball seemed to hang in the air as it beat a sprawling Arubi and found the top right corner of the net.
Sundowns were beginning to show signs of renewed confidence and Laffor’s strike was indicative of the kind of talent the player possesses. But true to their form this season, the Brazilians could not push home the advantage.
AmaTuks had to fight back and concentrated on scoring the equaliser. Sundowns early defensive problems were exposed once gain as Junior Sibande scored for AmaTuks.
The 30th minute goal resulted from a dubious free-kick outside the box which should have been a penalty, as Sibande collected a pass from Aubrey Ngoma and powered in a strike at goal which took a wicked deflection and ended up in the net.
AmaTuks almost found the lead following the equaliser as Bongani Zulu capitalised on some more space in the box from shaky Sundowns defending and struck a pile-driver towards goal but Wayne Sandilands proved to be Sundown’s saviour with a fine save from a close range.
Sundowns were beginning to lose their initial grip on the game and were allowing AmaTuks to play more free-flowing football.
The first half-ended at 1-1 but AmaTuks, who had started the second half under pressure, finished the first stanza looking like potential match winners.
This reversal of roles continued, as Tuks applied pressure early in the second half. But the game settled into a dour period, as neither side created clear-cut opportunities
Save for a long range effort from Bongani Zulu in the 67th minute, both sides struggled to take the initiative in a game which seemed destined for a draw.
Sundowns were on the back foot for most of the second half and were playing for the point which would still keep them in the drop zone. The game needed either side to take risks in order for there to be a result.
But this did not occur and Sundowns remain in the bottom spot of the log while AmaTuks move onto 16 points, five behind leaders behind leaders Kaizer Chiefs who have a game in hand.