Pitso starts with a draw
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Mamelodi Sundowns played to a 1-1 draw in new coach Pitso Mosimane's first game in charge, against Free State Stars, in a rain-interrupted Premiership clash in Phuthaditjhaba on Wednesday evening.
Sundowns' Eleazar Rodgers scored his first league goal of the season, before Tebogo Langerman put the ball into his own net to leave Mosimane with plenty to ponder ahead of their next Premiership encounter against Black Leopards this weekend.
Struggling Sundowns, fresh off their 1-0 Telkom Knockout final defeat to Bloemfontein Celtic at the weekend, recorded their fifth draw of the season to remain second last in the standings.
Mosimane sprung a surprise by playing Katlego Mphela
off the bench, with the striker making his first appearance after a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury.
The hosts had the first opportunity of the match as early as the third minute when Moeketsi Mvula saw his attempt cleared off the line by Sundowns defender Abel Mabaso.
The match was temporarily postponed seconds later, when heavy rain and lightning stopped play and forced the players from the field.
After a delay of nearly 40 minutes, Dove Wome was in with a promising chance after play resumed, when he blasted his shot at goal from a tight angle, but his attempt was thwarted by a solid save from ‘Downs goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands
Sundowns settled into the match and were in with their first real chance in the 14th minute, when Anthony Laffor
played an accurate ball to skipper Teko Modise
, who created space for himself but failed to hit the target with only goalkeeper Tshepo Motsoeneng to beat, the ball grazing the upright on its way wide.
Laffor was in the thick of the action soon after when he was involved in the opening goal, as Rodgers broke the deadlock.
Rodgers played a wide ball to Laffor, who beat his man on the left flank, before finding Rodgers in the Stars area, with the striker rounding one defender before dispatching his shot at goal, beating Motsoeneng, who was left stranded.
Rodgers came close to adding a second in the 37th minute, after Modise unleashed a long-range effort at goal, which was palmed away by Motsoeneng straight to Rodgers, but the striker was unable to get past the keeper, who gathered the second attempt comfortably.
Mvula was in with a chance on the stroke of half-time, but he had his shot well saved by a rock-solid Sandilands, who maintained his side's advantage heading into the interval.
The hosts came out after the break and had a Wome free-kick go narrowly wide of goal after some good work by the Brazilians' defensive unit, ensuring the score remained at 1-0.
Stars kept up the pressure and came close in the 65th minute, when Wome played a short pass to Anver Esterhuizen from a free-kick, but Esterhuizen missed the mark and failed to trouble Sandilands.
Mphela eventually made his way onto the pitch in the 69th minute when he replaced Rodgers, making his first appearance since June, when he picked up a long-term knee injury, which resulted in the Bafana Bafana international undergoing surgery.
Langerman dealt a cruel blow to Sundowns with 16 minutes left on the clock, when he failed to clear a dangerous corner delivery from Wome, and headed the ball into his own net to gift Stars with the equaliser.Scores:
Free State Stars (0) 1 (Langerman 73’ og)
Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 1 (Rodgers 24’) Teams:
Stars: Motsoeneng; Wilter, Cardoso, Ouro-Akoriko, Esterhuizen, Nomandela, Kerspuy, Masehe, Mkhwanazi (Thebekang 88’), Mvula (Berrian 73’), Wome (Chivuta 88’)
Sundowns: Sandilands; Mabaso, Schut, Mwanjale, Langerman, Laffor (Kekana 90’), Sangweni, Shongwe, Modise, Henyekane (Pelembe 58’), Rodgers (Mphela 69’)