Sekhukhune scramble a 1-1 draw with Sundowns after a lightning second-half strike

Cape Town — Unfancied Sekhukhune United produced a stirring defensive performance to hold reigning DStv Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns to a 1-1 draw at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

No one in the crowd at the Peter Mokaba Stadium would have anticipated that hosts Sekhukhune would share the spoils with Sundowns who held a 1-0 halftime lead. It was the first time Sekhukhune had scored a goal against Sundowns in the Premiership after three matches.

Midfielder Linda Mntambo, the former Pirates player who joined Sekhukhune this season, scored the second half equaliser in an entertaining clash. Mntambo was named ‘Man of the Match’.

Sundowns enjoyed an overwhelming possession advantage in the first half and just when it seemed they were heading for the sheds empty-handed at half-time, Peter Shalulile came to their rescue a minute before referee Masixole Bambiso sounded the whistle.

Up to that stage Shalulile had been trapped offside three times and it seemed Sekhukhune had worked out how to eliminate Sundowns’ danger man. However, Themba Zwane and Gaston Sirino, Shalulile’s partners in the three-prong attack, undid the Sekhukhune defence in front of goal. There was however a hint of offside when Shalulile scrambled in Sirino’s goalmouth cross for thefirst half’s lone goal.

Sekhukhune were off to an impressive start when fullback Sello Motsepe broke clear and fed the unmarked Victor Letsoalo who fired a left-footed drive wide of the target.

Sundowns gradually imposed themselves with a succession of attacks from the left channel. On numerous occasions Sundowns defenders Aubrey Modiba and Khuliso Mudau stalked into the attack with overlapping roles. They both had chances in the firing zone after shaking off their markers.

The pressure finally told on the Sekhukhune defence when Sundowns’ class came to the fore and Shalulile provided the finishing touch for his third goal of the season.

In the second half Sekhukhune took the match by the scruff of the neck and scored the equaliser 28 seconds after the restart. It sent the home side’s fans at the Peter Mokaba Stadium wild with excitement and for a while Sundowns’ players seemed stunned by the setback.

The Sekhukhune midfield brought off an intercept and Linda Mntambo was sent clear on the right and his parting shot flew past Sundowns goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.

The Sundowns response was swift but not impactful as they swept upfield with relentless attacks on the back of a 79% possession advantage.

Sundowns eventually made three second-half changes but the winning goal failed to emerge. Sekhukhune made four second-half changes and the fresh legs allowed the team to persist with a high-tempo challenge, and a strong finish with two threatening sorties in the final three minutes.


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