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Football | Absa Premiership

Relebogile Mokhuoane and Leandro Sirino © Backpagepix

Rusty Sundowns held by FS Stars

Wasteful Mamelodi Sundowns were held by Free State Stars in their Absa Premiership match as they drew 1-1 on Wednesday night at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria.

Sundowns scored early through Percy Tau and missed a number of chances in the opening half, but remain placed at the summit with 39 points from 21 matches.

A bright start for the Brazilians saw Tau netting from the box after great play by Gaston Sirino, who teed up the left-footed forward to beat Ali Sangare on his right corner.

Stars would rectifiy their errors at the back in the 12th minute and pushed numbers forward in search of an equaliser, yet Paulus Masehe’s effort lacked power and was collected by Denis Onyango.

The hosts continued to enjoy themselves on the ball and a good combination between Khama Billiat and Jeremy Brockie saw the New Zealand international’s shot shaving the right-hand corner in the 28th minute.

With five minutes to the interval, Ea Lla Koto nearly caught Sundowns’ defence napping when Harris Tchilimbou’s free header was saved by Onyango from close range.

On the stroke of halftime, Brockie broke free on the left flank into the box, yet he failed to beat Sangare as his effort sailed over the crossbar.

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Luc Eymael’s side came back and immediately attacked their hosts, but Siphelele Mthembu missed the target form a promising position in the box to hit the side of the net.

However, Mthembu would finally make it 1-1 in the 53rd minute when he finished from a scramble in the box to beat Onyango from close range.

Stars gained an upper hand after their goal, but the hosts nearly scored their second goal after an hour but Tiyani Mabunda was denied by Sangare from a powerful shot on the edge of the box.

Despite their numerous efforts to find a winning goal, defender Ricardo Nascimento also came close to scoring from a free header, again it went inches wide with two minutes to go.

In the closing stages, Nhlanhla Vilakazi looked like he was brought down by Onyango in the box, but referee Luthando Ndzandzeka waved play on despite penalty protests from Stars’ bench.

In the end, the Bethlehem side bagged a vital point as they sit in fourth spot with 33 points from 21 league matches.

Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 1 (Tau 5’)

Free State Stars (0) 1 (Mthembu 53’)

Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango, Morena, Soumahoro (Madisha 25’), Nascimento, Langerman, Manyisa, Mabunda, Sirino (Ngoma 63’), Billiat, Brockie (T. Zwane 79’), Tau

Free State Stars: Sangare, Masehe, Mobbie, Mahamutsa, Phungwayo, Vilakazi, Tchilimbou (Teyise 85’), Keita, Jantjie, Mthembu (Anas 67’), Relebogile (Cosse 59’)


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