Free State Stars held by AmaTuks

Free State Stars were held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man University of Pretoria in an Absa Premiership encounter at Goble Park in Bethlehem on Saturday afternoon.

The encounter was marred by missed chances, with the sides accumulating a total of 32 shots at goal between them.

Danny Venter handed the hosts the lead before Denver Mukamba levelled matters just before the break. Siyabonga Ngubane saw red just after the hour mark, but this in the end had no effect on the outcome.

In an attempt to climb out of the danger zone, Kinnah Phiri made three changes to the side that held SuperSport United to a 2-2 draw.

Richard Henyekane, Camaldine Abraw and the influential Paulus Masehe returned to the starting XI for the home side, while midweek hero Mbuyiselo Thethani had to again settle for a place among the substitutes.

AmaTuks, meanwhile, made only one change to the side that beat Chippa United, with Tebogo Monyai replacing the suspended Grant Kekana. Partson Jaure shifted to left-back, with Zambian international Davies Nkausu named on the bench.

Moeketsi Sekola had an opportunity to put the hosts 1-0 up with two minutes on the clock, but the recently capped Bafana Bafana attacking midfielder failed to find the back of the net with only the keeper to beat.

Glenn Verbauwhede was then called into action to keep out a stinging free-kick by Geofrey Massa, before denying Atusaye Nyondo with an acrobatic save in the 12th minute.

Nyondo tried to curl an effort past the Ea Lla Koto gloves-man from range, but the Belgium stopper was up to the task.

The match continued at a blistering pace, with Tebogo Monyai guilty of missing a golden opportunity in the 27th minute. Vuyisile Ntombayithethi's header was parried into the path of Monyai, who somehow failed to hit the target with the goal at his mercy.

Venter finally opened the scoring following a catalogue of missed chances at either side of the park. Abraw teed up the on-rushing Venter, who directed a powerful shot past Washington Arubi from inside the area with 32 minutes on the clock.

Mukamba levelled matters on the stroke of halftime. With his teammates struggling to find a way past Verbauwhede, the Zimbabwean took matters into his own hands, charging into the penalty area before finding the back of the net from an acute angle to double his goal tally for the season.

The second stanza continued in a similar fashion to the first, with both sides bombarding the opposition goal.

AmaTuks were dealt a major blow in the 62nd minute, with Siyabonga Ngubane receiving his marching orders following a second bookable offence.

Despite being a man light, AmaTuks were the team in the ascendancy with first Massa and then Jaure seeing their respective efforts canon off the woodwork.

Stars dominated the closing exchanges, but AmaTuks managed to hold on to secure a valuable point. The stalemate sees AmaTuks drop out of the top eight while Stars remain in 13th spot.

Free State Stars (1) 1 (Venter 32')

University of Pretoria (1) 1 (Mukamba 45')

Free State Stars: Verbauwhede, Mashego, Sankara, Rakoti, Cardoso, Masehe, Sekola (Thethani 65'), Venter (Mzizi 79'), Abraw, Henyekane (Somaeb 54')

University of Pretoria: Arubi, Ngubane, Shoyisa, Monyai, Jaure, Mosadi (Mastsi 69'), Ketjijere, Ntombayithethi, Mukamba (Zwane 90+2'), Massa, Nyondo