Defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns were held to a 1-1 draw by Maritzburg United in returning head coach Ernst Middendorp's first game in charge at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday evening.
In-form Sundowns attacker Themba Zwane's first-half goal was canceled out by defender Kwanda Mngonyama in the 60th minute as the two sides shared the spoils
Middendorp will be the happier of the two head coaches in an evenly contested clash that saw the early log leaders go up against the bottom-placed home side in the standings.
The two sides took some time to size each other up while adjusting to the wet Pietermaritzburg conditions in the early stages of the encounter.
Sundowns were unlucky not to take the lead in the 20th minute when Nazeer Allie bailed out his goalkeeper to make a goal-saving clearance off the line.
The Brazilians though were not to be denied at took the lead in the 32nd minute through play-maker Themba Zwane after some impressive attacking play by new signing Peter Shalulile.
The Zimbabwean attacker held the ball up well for fellow attacker Lebohang Maboe who played in the final ball across goal for Zwane who scored his sixth goal in as many games to continue his electrifying form.
That proved the difference in the first-half as the teams headed for the break.
The two sides got back underway with Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana flashing over a shot over the crossbar in the 51st minute.
The home side sent the virtual crowd wild in the 60th minute when defender Kwanda Mngonyama rose highest to get a header on the end of a corner-kick by Daniel Morgan.
Referee Victor Gomes handed out his customary red card in the 78th minute but this time it was Sundowns head coach Manqoba Mngqithi who was given his marching orders.
The two sides canceled each other out in the closing stages heading into the final ten minutes in a truer reflection of how evenly contested the encounter was.
In the 85th minute Maritzburg against the run of play had a chance to clinch all three points when Thabiso Kutumela found himself through on goal but was denied by the onrushing Denis Onyango.
That's how the match ended with Maritzburg United picking up their first point of the season under new coach Ernst Middendorp in the German's first match in charge.