Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns were made to pay for missing a number of good first-half chances as they were held 1-1 by a gutsy Free State Stars in Wednesday's Absa Premiership clash at Loftus Versveld.
The hosts came out of the blocks quickly with high-tempo passing and it wouldn't be long before they hit the front through Percy Tau in the fourth minute.
After clever inter-play saw Leandro Sirino find space in the area on the penalty spot, his deft touch set up a sitter for Tau, who curled home impressively with his left foot.
It was an open game and Jeremy Brockie missed a gilt-edged opportunity to open his account for the Brazilians around the half-an-hour mark.
When Khama Billiat pulled the ball out of the air brilliantly on the left-hand side, he played in Brockie, who rolled his strike wide when he should have scored.
Brockie did little wrong a few minutes later when he peeled away at the far post and headed accurately toward the far post. However, Sangare produced a magnificent fingertip save diving to his right.
As the half drew to a close, Ea Lla Koto missed their best chance of the clash when Harris Tchilimbou was free in the area, although his glancing header was tame when he may have done better.
Just before the break, Brockie sprung the offside trap on the left-hand side and he once again forced Badra Sangare into an excellent tip over the bar.
After the interval, Stars came out with renewed energy and leveled matters through Siphelele Mthembu in the 53rd minute.
From a fine burst by Tchilimbou on the right, he found the big striker, who finished at the second attempt after a fine initial block by Motjeka Madisha.
Both clubs struggled to create many more clear openings in the second stanza, though Tiyani Mabunda fired a powerful shot from distance just after the hour mark which the excellent Sangare once more clawed behind to safety.
In the closing stages Aubrey Ngoma found space in the area from a cross on the right, yet the diminutive winger saw his flicked header flash wide when a better contact may have resulted in the winner.
At the death, the visitors were denied a legitimate penalty as Nhlanhla Vilakazi was clearly hauled down by goalkeeper Denis Onyango but nothing was given by referee Thando Ndzandzeka.