Cape Town - Bidvest Wits failed to make their numerical advantage count as they were held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Mamelodi Sundowns at Bidvest Stadium on Saturday evening.
Masandawana drew first blood, claiming the lead after just seven minutes of play thanks to Phakamani Mahlambi, before Gift Motupa levelled matters on the half-hour mark. Wayne Arendse received his marching orders in the 37th minute after a cynical foul on Lyle Lakay, but Sundowns were able to hold on with ten men for the rest of the encounter to claim a hard-fought point.
The match started at a cautious pace with neither side willing to commit too many men in attack in the opening five minutes of play.
However, the match sprang to life with a bang in the seventh minute when Sundowns claimed the lead following a defensive mix-up.
Wits were caught dallying on the ball on the edge of their box, and Sundowns played the ball out wide on the right before whipping it across the face of goal. Wits keeper Darren Keet got a hand to the ball, but it fell perfectly for Phakamani Mahlambi, who smashed it into the roof of the net from just outside the six-yard box.
After a brief lull in play, the Clever Boys clawed their way back into contention following a mistake from the Downs defence. Gift Motupa picked up the ball on the edge of the box before surging into the danger area and lifting the ball over the onrushing Denis Onyango from a tight angle.
With the equaliser secured, Wits continued to pile forward, and a sustained period of pressure finally took its toll on the Sundowns defence when Wayne Arendse saw red for a foul on Lyle Lakay on the edge of the box.
The sending off certainly changed the complexion of the game, but it did not lead more chances. In fact, 10-man Sundowns stayed compact in a bid to frustrate the Clever Boys and that proved to be an effective approach as Wits struggled to create clear-cut chances.
The second half offered up very little in the way of goalmouth action, and Sundowns were dealt another blow in the 75th minute when Onyango injured himself in the act of an attempted save. The shot in question flew into the side netting, but Onyango did not escape unscathed as he was forced off with an injury.
And, that was sadly the only noteworthy incident in an otherwise drab second half as both sides were forced to settle for a share of the spoils at Bidvest Stadium.