Tuks, Sundowns in stalemate
Pretoria - Anthony Laffor and Junior Sibande scored a goal apiece as the University of Pretoria came from a goal behind to hold on for a 1-1 draw with Mamelodi Sundowns in a Premiership clash at the Tuks Stadium in Pretoria on Saturday afternoon.
AmaTuks headed into the clash on the back of a 1-0 defeat by AmaZulu on Wednesday, their first loss on the road, while Sundowns sank to the bottom of the Premiership table after their 3-1 loss to Orlando Pirates at Loftus in a simultaneous encounter.
Sundowns started brightly, keeping the hosts under pressure throughout the opening quarter, but were unable to turn their possession into any meaningful opportunities.
The Brazilians camped out in the Tuks half and were rewarded, after Laffor broke the deadlock in the 16th minute with a superb curling effort, after the Liberian forward turned something out of nothing on the edge of the Tuks area.
The tall striker received the ball on the left flank, looked up, before neatly curling his effort over and past goalkeeper Washington Arubi, who was helpless as the ball sailed into the top right corner, for his first league goal of the season.
Tuks had an opportunity shortly after the opener, when Aubrey Ngoma was brought down on the edge of the Sundowns area.
The resulting free-kick, however, came to nothing, after a wayward effort by Ronald Ketjijere sailed harmlessly into touch.
Tuks began to make regular visits into the Sundowns half, but lacked the clinical touch, until Junior Sibande, much like the first goal, made the most of a speculative opportunity, drilling a loose shot at goal from outside the area.
Sibande's shot took a nasty deflection off Sundowns striker Eleazar Rodgers en route to the goal, and Tuks were handed a fortunate touch, as goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands was left stranded. The goal hit the back of the net, leveling matters on the half-hour mark.
Having pulled the goal back, AmaTuks went in search of the second and started playing with more fluidity.
Ngoma was in the thick of the action again before half-time, forcing a superb save from Sandilands to deny the hosts the lead, after the midfielder rocketed an effort from outside the box.
The visitors came out into the second half with intent as Jabulani Shongwe made a darting run into the Tuks area, before unleashing a shot goalwards, which missed to the left and failed to trouble Arubi.
Sundowns had their best opportunity of the second period in the 69th minute, when Doctor Mampuru played in a pinpoint cross from the right flank, but missed both Rodgers and Modise, who narrowly missed getting onto the other end of the delivery.
At the other end, second half replacement Ayanda Lubelo came close in the 74th minute, after a decent delivery into the area from Ngoma found the unmarked Lubelo, who unleashed a volley at goal, but could only find Sandilands in the middle of the goalmouth.
Heading into the last quarter, Tuks came out guns blazing and pinned their visitors back, bringing with them regular attempts on goal, with Sandilands the only answer, as a nervy Sundowns defence failed to clear the danger.
Chances fell for Mame Niang, Ngoma and Sibande, who tested the Brazilians' shot-stopper, but were left frustrated by the Bafana Bafana keeper.
The stalemate leaves Sundowns rooted to the foot of the table on six points, one behind league new-comers Chippa United.