Leaders Sundowns held to goalless draw by Arrows

Mamelodi Sundowns’ dominance of the DStv Premiership can no longer be taken be granted after they played to a 0-0 draw at home to Golden Arrows on Wednesday evening and saw their lead at the top of the log cut to just one point.

The result at Loftus Versfeld Stadium means the Brazilians have now gone three league outings without a win and only hold a one-point lead over in-form AmaZulu, who impressively thrashed Cape Town City and have put together a 15-match unbeaten run in the league.

‘Downs still have two games in hand over Usuthu, but the Durban side could leapfrog them this weekend if they win their derby match on Saturday against Abafana Bes’thende (who remained third with this stalemate in Tshwane).

Arrows offered plenty of promise in attack in the early stages, with a 13th minute cross from Divine Lunga almost put into his own net by Mosa Lebusa – the same player who registered an own goal against Kaizer Chiefs last weekend.

Sundowns gradually began to assert control in midfield, but Arrows again threatened down the left flank just before the half-hour mark: this time Pule Mmodi played in a cross which was headed just wide of his own posts by the Brazilians’ Rivaldo Coetzee.

The half-time interval arrived with the teams still locked at 0-0 and Abafana Bes’thende having enjoyed the more dangerous moments, while ‘Downs struggled to get the likes of Themba Zwane and Kermit Erasmus on the ball.

Zwane did come to life early in the second half and had his first sight of goal in the 57th minute, stinging the palms of goalkeeper Sifiso Mlungwana with a long-range effort, before ‘Downs opted for an attacking change by replacing Andile Jali with Gift Motupa.

Yet the team in yellow and blue continued to be stuck in second gear, lacking their usual pace and penetration in attack, though Arrows must be credited for a solid defensive performance in which they never allowed their opponents any time on the ball.

Ultimately the match fizzled out to a goalless stalemate, a fair result for an encounter which was not short of effort or endeavour, but lacked quality in the final third. The teams will return to DStv Premiership action this weekend, with Arrows facing Durban rivals AmaZulu on Saturday 1 May and Sundowns travelling to Orlando Pirates the following day.

Sundowns: Onyango, Morena, De Reuck, Lebusa, Modiba, Coetzee, Jali (Motupa 59’), Maboe, Mkhulise, Zwane (Mkhuma 85’), Erasmus (Vilakazi 85’)

Arrows: Mlungwana, M. Dube, Sibisi, Zuke, Lunga, Mmodi (Sibiya 90+1’), Shitolo, Parusnath (Phiri 90+2’), Ndwandwe, Mutizwa, Gumede (Mtshali 74’).