Sundowns held at home by Platinum Stars

There were four goals at the end of this share of the spoils between Mamelodi Sundowns and Platinum Stars but, in all honesty, there was nothing thrilling about it.

 

As a result of this lukewarm 2-2 draw, Sundowns have lost their solid two games in hand advantage and have now played an equal number of matches with the rest of the teams in the Absa Premiership with the run in looming.

After Thursday night’s matches, which included a late kick-off between Bidvest Wits and Orlando Pirates in Johannesburg, all the teams in the league have played 26 matches and it appears that the title race will go down to the wire.

It does not get any easier for the Brazilians as they hit the road to Orlando Stadium on Sunday for a difficult assignment against unpredictable Pirates who are looking to cement a top eight place.

After Pirates, Sundowns have relegation threatened Baroka FC, hugely improved Maritzburg United and they round off their season with another potential banana skin in the form of Highlands Park in their remaining matches.

For Platinum Stars coach Cavin Johnson, this is another disappointing result as they have now gone six matches without a win and they remain in 11th position with only four points separating them and bottom of the log side Highlands Park.

Their run-in is also not easy as they have Highlands Park, Maritzburg, Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United in their remaining matches which will decide if they stay in the top flight.

During the match, Sundowns opened the scoring in the sixth minute through defender Thabo Nthete who pounced home a loose ball in the six yards area after Stars failed to clear Percy Tau’s corner kick.

Stars equalised in the 26th minute through Ndumiso Mabena’s brilliant solo effort where he punished the sloppy Sundowns defence that allowed him too much space to control the ball in the box.

The former Pirates striker maintained composure to beat a few Sundowns defenders before slotting the ball past stranded Sundowns ‘keeper Dennis Onyango.

As the first half continued, both teams continued to create chances but the limelight fell on match official Chris Harrisson who infuriated Sundowns supporters with some of his questionable decisions.

Mabena broke through on the left flank after he received a through pass from the midfield to beat Onyango on the near post to leave Lucas Moripe Stadium in complete silence a few minutes before the hour mark as he registered his brace.

In the 63rd minute, Yannick Zakri watched in disbelief as his close range header was parried away for safety by Stars ‘keeper Mbongeni as Sundowns upped the tempo for the equaliser.

He got it right a minute later when he a scrambled home past Mzimela from Anthony Laffor’s header that originated from a throw in by Motjeka Madisha on the right hand side of the field.

In the closing stages Stars defender Sphamandla Mlilo received a red card and a Sundowns free kick on the edge of the box as they settled for the share of the spils.

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