Sundowns hold AmaTuks to draw

The University of Pretoria held Tshwane rivals Mamelodi Sundowns to a 1-1 draw in an Absa Premiership encounter played at Tuks Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Thabo Mnyamane’s first half strike was cancelled out by Khama Billiat who continued his goal scoring touch.

For ‘Downs the stalemate stretches their unbeaten run in the league to 11 matches while for AmaTuks their winless run since Steve Barker left the club continues, with the University side yet to win in four attempts.

Both coaches stuck with the same starting eleven that started in their previous league fixtures against Maritzburg United and Orlando Pirates respectively.

Samuel Troughton continued with three strikers, with Thabo Mnyamane, Atusaye Nyondo and Geofrey Massa involved from the onset while Pitso Mosimane put his faith in Zimbabwean striker Cuthbert Malajila.

With both teams in desperate need of a win, an exciting encounter was expected and either side delivered in the early exchanges with chances aplenty in the opening half hour.

Playing in a more advanced role Vuyisile Ntombayithethi found himself in good attacking positions. The former Golden Arrows man forcing Kennedy Mweene into a good save before wasting a good opportunity, hopelessly scuffing his effort after breaking into the area.

Sundowns should’ve opened the scoring in the sixth minute. Teko Modise struck the upright from a free-kick, before Khama Billiat hit his effort from the rebound onto the same crossbar to the frustration of the Zimbabwean.

Chances continued to come thick and fast for both teams with AmaTuks eventually opening the scoring in the 36th minute.

Geofrey Massa’s powerful free-kick from 35 yards was parried into the path of Mnyamane by Kennedy Mweene, the former NWU-Pukke striker making no mistake from close range.

Having received a tongue lashing from his teammates for failing to pick up his runner, Billiat looked for redemption in the 41st minute, but he was expertly denied by fellow countryman Washington Arubi who did well to keep out the attackers’ effort.

Pitso Mosimane’s troops responded in the perfect manner after the break with the Billiat pulling the Brazilians level five minutes into the second stanza.

Poor defending by AmaTuks let in Malajila who set-up Billiat with the easiest finishes, the former Ajax Cape Town man netting his fourth goal in as many matches.

Modise then went close to grabbing the lead in the 58th minute, the woodwork denying the former Orlando Pirates man once again, Malajila turned in the rebound, but he was flagged for offside.

Sundowns continued to push forward and should’ve had the lead in the 74th minute. Anthony Laffor burst down the right flank before laying it on a plate for Malajila at the far post, the striker though could only manage to hit his resulting effort wide with the goal at his mercy.

Both teams failed to create any clear cut chances in the final 10 minutes with AmaTuks holding on to secure a valuable point.

University of Pretoria (0) 1 (Billiat 50’)

Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 1 (Mnyamane 36’)

University of Pretoria: Arubi; Kekana, Shoyisa, Monyai (Matsi 85’), Ntombayithethi, Ketjijere, Ngubane, Mosadi (Mukamba 62’), Mnyamane, Nyondo, Massa (Zwane 80’)

Mamelodi Sundowns: Mweene; Mashaba, Nthethe, Schut, Mphahlele, Kekana (Laffor 46’), Zungu, Zwane (Moriri 80’), Modise, Billiat, Malajila (Mokoena 90+1’)