Newly crowned champions Mamelodi Sundowns and 10-man Cape Town City walked away with a point each from their DStv Premiership clash on Tuesday.
Cape Town — The visiting Cape Town City FC put a damper on celebrations at Loftus Versfeld when they held Mamelodi Sundowns to a goalless draw in a DStv Premiership clash on Tuesday evening.
Sundowns had recalled their big guns Peter Shalulile, Teboho Mokoena, Themba Zwane and Ronwen Williams for the clash in the hope of securing a win on an evening when they were playing as the 2022/23 Premiership champions for the first time this season.
Sundowns were royally received outside and inside the stadium before kick-off. Hundreds of adoring fans, many armed with drums, horns and musical instruments formed a guard of honour along the streets as the team bus arrived at the stadium.
Inside the stadium, the visiting City squad formed a guard of honour outside the entrance to the playing area.
At the start, Sundowns grabbed the initiative and looked to probe the opposition half with passes from deep options. At times it looked attractive but often they turned over possession as City’s defence pounced.
In the opening half-hour, City was forced to live off the scraps of possession whenever they managed to intercept or pick up stray passes. However, all too often they failed to look after the ball when they approached the final third.
Despite their wealth of possession and territory, Sundowns headed for the sheds at halftime empty handed although two offside calls against them seemed harsh. Each time Cassius Mailula was well-placed to score.
After 30 minutes, City upped the ante and had a few chances in the striking zone but Sundowns’ keeper Ronwen Williams made three first-half saves.
At the other end, Darren Keet, City’s shot-stopper, also made three excellent saves and together with Williams played their part for a goalless first half.
In the second half, Sundowns continued to hold the upper hand and several half-scoring chances emerged. Around the hour mark, Sundowns sprung a penetrative counter-attack which ended with Mailula pulling the trigger inside the firing zone but his low shot was fractionally wide of the posts.
In the 73rd minute, City’s second-half substitute, the 20-year-old Cameroonian Brice Ambina was deservedly given his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card from referee Moses Kheswa.
In the remaining times, the 10-man City held out to maintain a clean sheet against the champions.