Reigning champions Mamelodi Sundowns opened up a four-point lead at the top of the DStv Premiership table after being held by bottom side Black Leopards.
CAPE TOWN – Log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns opened a four-point lead at the top of the DStv Premiership table following their 1-1 draw with basement dwellers Black Leopards at Loftus Versfeld on Sunday.
After 18 matches, Sundowns remain unbeaten but the surprising draw spoilt their attempt to be become the first team this season to win five consecutive games.
Leopards, rock bottom on the log, have 13 points from 20 games.
Leopards started like a house on fire and came within a whisker of scoring twice in the opening four minutes.
Somewhat against the run of play, Sundowns opened the scoring in the ninth minute when left-back Lyle Lakay reeled in a corner kick which was smartly met by midfielder Lebohang Maboe. His glancing header flew past Leopards’ Bissau-Guinea keeper Jonas Mendes – the goal was the product of a training ground move (1-0).
Lakay has established himself as one of the finest dead-ball specialists in the league.
For the rest of the first half, Sundowns slowed down the pace of the match and played possession football. There was little urgency about their play and whenever they lost possession, Leopards were quick to stage counter-attacks.
On the stroke of halftime, the Leopards midfielder Rodney Ramagalela came close to scoring after his parting shot ricocheted off the post.
Leopards were hugely disrupted by two-first injuries. Despite this setback, they had three genuine goal-scoring chances.
Sundowns continued to dictate play in the second half. Just ahead of the hour mark, defender Sphelele Mkhulise, who had joined the striking force upfront, was well placed to score, but he blasted his effort high above the crossbar.
Much like the first half, Leopards had their moments in the second stanza to open their scoring account, but they failed to exploit their opportunities. However, in the 80th minute, they sprung a surprise on the defending champions who looked all set to bag maximum points.
Leopards substitute Roderick Kabwe (Black Leopards) scored with a cheeky back-heel flick after Sundowns defence failed to deal with Rodney Ramagalela’s goalmouth cross.