Golden Arrows head coach Mandla Ncikazi. Picture: STEVE HAAG/BACKPAGEPIX​
Golden Arrows head coach Mandla Ncikazi. Picture: STEVE HAAG/BACKPAGEPIX​

Mamelodi Sundowns’ grip on top spot of the Premiership has been loosened after the 0-0 draw with a determined and enterprising Golden Arrows at Loftus on Wednesday.

Due to this share of the spoils with Abafana Bes’thende, the Brazilians’ lead has been narrowed to one point by rampant AmaZulu who crushed Cape Town City 5-1 in Cape Town.

With this turn of events, Sundowns still enjoy a slight advantage as they have two games in hand over second-placed AmaZulu and third-placed Arrows who have accumulated 47 and 43 points respectively from their 25 matches.

This means that Sundowns have dropped five points at home from their last two matches as they also lost to Kaizer Chiefs on Sunday who handed them their first defeat of the season.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Brazilians as they must now turn their attention to their next league match, against Orlando Pirates on Sunday where they will be under pressure to return to winning ways.

For Arrows and their coach, Mandla Ncikazi, they also have a difficult match against the high-flying AmaZulu on Saturday in what is the most anticipated KwaZulu-Natal derby in years.

The match got off to a flying start with the spotlight mostly on experienced referee Victor Gomes with tackles flying all over the pitch as players tried to take control of the proceedings.

Sundowns were the first to settle with their most threatening attacks coming from the efforts of attackers Sphelele Mkhulise, Kermit Erasmus and Themba Zwane.

After a sluggish start, Arrows found their footing and started taking control with Knox Mutizwa, Pule Mmodi and Divine Lunga playing key roles.

The opening exchanges were exciting but most of the action was in the midfield where Andile Jali and Rivaldo Coetzee went toe to toe with Seth Parusnath and Gladwin Shitolo.

The second half followed the same pattern as the first in which most of the action was in the middle of the park but at least there was an increased number of chances to make goalkeepers Denis Onyango of Sundowns and Sifiso Mlungwana earn their salaries.

After a number of attacking chances from both sides in the closing stages, they had to settle for a share of the spoils.

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