SuperSport travelled to Angola as they locked horns with Petro de Luanda in the first leg of the Caf Confederation Cup first round.
Much was expected from Matsatsantsa who most recently reached the final of the tournament, but following their Cup final defeat to TP Mazembe, they have been on a downward spiral, culminating in the resignation of head coach Eric Tinkler.
Assistant coach Kaitano Tembo took charge of the team at the Estadio 11 de Novembro on a temporary basis, and as expected, he opted to rest almost all his senior players.
Despite the wholesale changes, Tembo would have been confident with the squad he put out as the likes of Sipho Mbule, Teboho Mokoena and the club’s leading goalscorer Aubrey Modiba formed the back bone.
The clash promised much excitement as the Angolans carried a stellar home record going into the clash as they had not lost in their own backyard in 27 previous encounters.
SuperSport’s young troops though, were determined to impress their coach and in the first half, they looked the better of the two sides.
Modiba threatened early on but his shot flew just wide after some good build-up play.
The Tshwane side was enjoying themselves and again came close, only for Sipho Mbule’s shot to fly just over the crossbar.
Meanwhile, the heat was beginning to take its toll on the players as they were tiring, but after a water break, Mokoena came closest to opening the scoring. The 21-year-old latched onto Modiba’s pin-point cross, but his header went agonisingly wide of the home side’s goal.
In spite of SuperSport’s dominance, they failed to find the back of the net and went into the break deadlocked.
While Tembo would have hoped for SuperSport to snatch a valuable away goal, the resumption of the second half was again tightly contested with Petro de Luanda also coming more into the game as the half progressed.
With almost an hour played, SuperSport keeper Reyaad Pieterse was forced into a fantastic save keeping the scoreline level, this led to the SuperSport technical team withdrawing forward Darren Smith for experienced defender Onismor Bhasera.
But while SuperSport looked destined to walk away with a draw, with less than five minutes remaining, Petro came within a whisker of raining on SuperSport’s parade as they had a shot which cannoned off the woodwork, much to the relief of the visiting team.
Nonetheless, despite Petro’s pressure, SuperSport remained resolute and held on for the draw.