After failing to find the back of the net in the Tshwane derby over the weekend, DStv Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns once again fired blanks as they were held by Bloemfontein Celtic on Tuesday.
CAPE TOWN – After shooting blanks in the Tshwane derby over the weekend, Dstv Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns misfired again on Tuesday at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.
Just like Supersport United, it was now the turn of Bloemfontein Celtic to hold the Brazilians to a goalless draw.
The Sundowns coaching trio attempted to address the issue infront of goal with the return of star striker Kermit Erasmus to the starting line-up at the expense of Gaston Sirino.
But even the former Cape Town City ace goalpoacher could not change Sundowns’ fortunes and was, in fact, guilty of missing arguably the best chances of the afternoon.
Erasmus should have given Masandawana the lead 10 minutes before the halftime break after a through ball by Themba Zwane sent him clear on goal, but was ultimately denied by Jackson Mabokgwane in the Celtic goal.
The chances continued to fall at the feet of Erasmus when on the stroke of the hour the Bafana Bafana attacker had another glorious opportunity to put his team into the lead.
On this occasion Erasmus did everything right except get the ball into the back of the net when his shot hit the crossbar.
Erasmus was, however, not the only Sundowns culprit with Mothobi Mvala also fluffing a golden chance in the first half. The former Highlands Park midfielder did exceptionally well to run into clear space to collect Zwane’s incisive ball into the Celtic box, but once umarked could only glance his header wide of the right upright.
Celtic have a reputation of raising the level of their game for the big matches and they were certainly up for this contest with the triple league champions.
They were not content just to absorb the pressure and launched attacks of their own with Siphelele Luthuli almost finishing off a counter-attack when he broke away clear on goal. However, even after rounding Sundowns keeper Denis Onyango, he could only manage a feeble effort that was cleared off the line.
Sundowns eventually managed to bulge the net, but Peter Shalulile’s goal was disallowed after the referee ruled that he had controlled the cross with his hand before scoring.
Celtic also got the ball over the line through Andile Fikizolo after Motebang found the midfielder with an inch-perfect pass, but this was not going to count with the off-side flag being held up.
Both teams pressed during the closing stages in search of the winner with Celtic going close again through an acrobatic over-head kick from Motebang, but John Maduka’s charges had to settle for a point as Onyango tipped the ball comfortably over the bar.
Sundowns’ successive goalless draw has now given the Premiership’s surprise package Moroka Swallows the opportunity to overtake the Brazilians at the summit of the league table if they overcome Chippa United on Wednesday.