Picture: 123RF / SOMKKU9KANOKWAN
Picture: 123RF / SOMKKU9KANOKWAN

SuperSport United launched a spirited second-half fight back to force a 2-2 draw with Mamelodi Sundowns in an exciting Tshwane derby at Loftus on Wednesday.

Before Gamphani Lungu and Teboho Mokoena scored two late goals, the Brazilians were cruising through well-taken goals by Neo Maema and Peter Shalulile.

Maema, who produced a virtuoso performance during the first 50 minutes, opened the scoring with a stupendous long-range curler on the stroke of halftime.

He returned even more inspired from the break to provide an assist for Shalulile who beat United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams with a thumping shot from close range as Sundowns took control.

But United responded with goals by Lungu and Mokoena to salvage a much-needed point.

Lungu’s goal was significant as it halted Sundowns’ record-breaking 13-match run without conceding. Mokoena was the last player to score against the Brazilians, in May last season.

With this share of the spoils, in which goalkeeper Denis Onyango did not cover himself in glory, Sundowns remain unbeaten after 19 league games. They have opened a six-point lead at the top of the table.

If Orlando Pirates’ inconsistency is anything to go by, May 2022 will mark 10 barren years since they last won the Premiership title. 

Despite an emphatic 3-0 thrashing over Stellenbosch to end a 12-match unbeaten run for Steve Barker’s Stellies on Wednesday, the Buccaneers have been so inconsistent that only a reckless gambler would put money on them winning the title come next May.

Collins Makgaka scored his first goal in two years to put Pirates ahead early in the first half and Deon Hotto doubled the lead shortly after completing his brace with the Buccaneers’ first attacking move in the second half. 

Despite the three points in the picturesque Winelands, Pirates remain seventh and nine points behind unbeaten leaders Sundowns who have a six-point lead over Stellenbosch. 

Pirates and any potential challengers will have their work cut out to overtake the rampant champions. 

Stellies, the surprise package who were fighting to avoid  relegation just six months ago, struggled to get out of their blocks and never recovered from defensive blunders that led to all three goals. 

Having not lost a match in 11 outings, the high-flying Stellenbosch got the wind taken out of their sails and looked deflated after a lapse of concentration saw them concede two quick goals in the first half. 

Pirates have not won back-to-back Premiership matches in a week this season since September when they beat Swallows and Chippa United and travelled to Stellenbosch after a single win in seven league games. 

The win will give the Pirates players a spring in their step as they travel to West Africa to face Liberia’s LPRC Oilers in the first leg of their Caf Confederation Cup playoff round in Paynesville, outside Monrovia. 

Pirates will return home hopefully with a positive result and look to build momentum and further climb up the table when they host struggling Baroka at Orlando Stadium on December 2.

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