LOGLEADERS Kaizer Chiefs and hosts Mamelodi Sundowns had to share the spoils as the teams ended their Premier Soccer League derby goalless at a near capacity Loftus Versfeld last night.
The fixture was the first for either side since December 19 as the PSL resumed after the Africa Cup of Nations enforced break.
The point puts Chiefs in danger of relinquishing top spot as defending champions Orlando Pirates, who take on SuperSport United tonight, have the opportunity of reaching the top of the league standings should they claim all three points at the Orlando Stadium.
AmaKhosi boss Stuart Baxter included all seven returning Bafana Bafana players in his starting line-up, while Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane started both Wayne Sandilands, who was on the bench throughout Bafana’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign, and striker Katlego Mphela.
The hosts dominated the opening 15 minutes, but struggled to create any real chances for their forwards, who resorted to testing Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune from a distance, but were unsuccessful.
With neither side threatening, it would take Sundowns 26 minutes to get their first shot on target, albeit a tame effort from Teko Modise, who drove a low shot straight at Khune, who made a routine save.
Chiefs had to wait until the stroke of halftime for their first opportunity as Bernard Parker put George Lebese through on goal before Lebese forced a solid save from Sundowns keeper Sandilands, who spilled his stop, but had his defence to clear the danger.
With the score goalless at the interval, AmaKhosi were first to threaten five minutes into the second period. Lebese received a ball inside Downs’ half, made a darting run and delivered a pinpoint cross toward the far post, where Parker should have scored, but missed.
Sundowns came agonisingly close 11 minutes from time when Tebogo Langerman delivered an accurate ball into the Chiefs area and found the head of second half replacement Themba Zwane, who flicked on a deft touch, only for Khune to tip the ball over the bar.
Chiefs replied with what they thought was the winner, but Mandla Masango had his goal disallowed for offside.
In Phuthaditjhaba, Danny Venter scored a brace to help Free State Stars beat Chippa United 3-0.
Stars’ victory extends their unbeaten run in the PSL to seven games.
In Polokwane, Wits claimed their first win in eight matches with a 2-0 win over Black Leopards, while AmaZulu and Maritzburg United drew 0-0 in Durban. – Sapa