Sundowns, Chiefs share spoils in season opener

Ricardo Nascimento (left) and Jeremy Brockie (Gallo).
Ricardo Nascimento (left) and Jeremy Brockie (Gallo).

Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs shared the spoils on the opening day of the Premiership season when they drew 1-1 on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

Both teams came out with real attacking intent and both goals were scored in the first half through Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Ricardo Nascimento.

In the second stanza both outfits made great chances to take all three points but it ended 1-1 on the day.

The sides started at a frenetic pace with a number of strong challenges going in. Inside the first 10 minutes the visitors hit the front after an error from Gaston Sirino.

After being played the ball in front of his box he was dispossessed by the high pressing Mphahlele, who went on to show composure to convert low down beyond Kennedy Mweene.

Sundowns were not threatening greatly but somehow found a way back in the 24th minute. After a long ball was played into the right-hand side of Chiefs' box, Daniel Cardoso misread the flight of the ball and clumsily sent Jeremy Brockie tumbling to ground.

From the resulting spot-kick, Nascimento slotted home with confidence beyond Itumeleng Khune. Just before the interval the rejuvenated Brazilians hit the post through Brockie.

After finding space at the far post, the New Zealand international sent a left-footed volley into the turf which struck the top of the crossbar and bounced clear.

After the break, Themba Zwane missed a superb chance as he was put clear with just Khune to beat by the lively Sirino, however, with the goal gaping he missed his kick and the moment was gone.

The Glamour Boys soon responded as Sirino lost the ball cheaply once more in midfield and Siphelele Ntshangase set Khama Billiat free into space on the left-hand side. Yet, the Zimbabwe star saw his strike across goal palmed away by Mweene.

The chances continued to flow and another error by Cardoso allowed Brockie to find space to hit a volley just inside the small box, but Khune made an excellent point-blank save with his leg.

Sirino then showed good skill to beat his man on the edge of the area before firing a rocket of a strike just wide of the post. Nonetheless, Chiefs responded when Willard Katsande stormed down the left-hand touchline before the ball was worked to Billiat.

He fed in Leo Castro who failed to make proper contact with Mweene to beat as the ball skidded wide, though a corner was given despite no Downs player getting a touch.

In the 75th minute Billiat fired a free-kick over the bar as action swayed from end to end. In the final 10 minutes both teams seemed to settle for the draw as the coaches rang the changes and it ended 1-1 in Pretoria.

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