Sundowns, Cape Town City share the spoils in thriller
Hlompho Kekana’s marvelous long range strike early on suggested another night of success for champions Mamelodi Sundowns against Cape Town City but a 25th minute equalizer from Edmilson Dove ensured a share of the spoils in a thrilling league encounter at Atteridgeville on Tuesday night.
The 1-1 draw came at the end of a high tempo, pulsating game with plenty of incident and evidence that Sundowns can be taken on at their home fortress.
It was always going to be a game with potential but early on it looked as if City were a little overawed by the champions and Lyle Lakay, in his first start of the season, really should have had Sundowns in the lead with just 150 seconds played.
He was open on the left as the City defence was stretched but his shot was straight at Perter Leeuwenburg, who got his body behind it and then watched with much relief as the ball hit him, went up onto the woodwork and away to safety.
But the giant City ‘keeper knew nothing about Kekana’s rasping shot in the eight minute, hit perfectly with venom from outside the area and rocketing into the net before Leeuwenburg even saw it.
It hit his right-hand upright and bounced across off the left post, like a master class in pinball.
Kekana has hit some beauties in his career but this was up with the best of them.
City started to finds their feet afterwards, inspired by the skills on the flank of Surprise Ralani.
He kept the Sundowns’ defence guessing with his footwork and also showed his shooting ability with a curling effort in the 24th minute that had Denis Onyango at full stretch to save.
From the resultant corner, Sundowns failed to clear properly with Thato Mokeke able to keep the ball alive and Edmilson having time to turn and shot across the goal, with his effort going in off the post for the equalizer.
Keenu Cupido headed against the crossbar soon after from another corner as City finished the half stronger with Sundowns looking pressured.
It should have been 2-1 to the visitors after 40 minutes when Kermit Erasmus’ perfectly weighted pass saw Mokeke rushing on with just the goalkeeper to beat but the ball bobbled up at the vital moment and Mokeke’s effort on his weaker right foot was poor.
After the break, the woodwork again played a part as Ralani made a goalline stop to deny Wayne Arendse in the 55th minute as city failed to clear a corner.
Erasmus, three minutes later had a chance but Arendse blocked his effort and soon after that he was away on goal again, teasing his way past three defenders but shanking his final effort wide.
City captain Thamsanqa Mkhize should have been red carded when he caught Sundowns substitute Keletso Makgalwa on the ankle, forcing him off just 10 minutes after he came on. He looks to be out for a few weeks at least.
But Mkhize did not finish the game after a nasty knock to the head left him bleeding heavily.
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