South American skills, but no goals in Soweto

League leaders Mamelodi Sundowns hit the woodwork twice within a minute when drawing 0-0 at title rivals Kaizer Chiefs Saturday in a match with a South American flavour.

Sundowns, who stretched their Premiership lead to five points by taking a point before a 70 000 crowd, started with Brazilian centre-back Ricardo Nascimento.

Coach Pitso Mosimane doubled the South American presence by introducing recent signing, Uruguayan midfielder Gaston Sirino, during the second half at Soccer City stadium in Soweto.

Chiefs also had their share of samba skills, bringing on Colombian and former Sundowns striker Leonardo Castro and Venezuelan Gustavo Paez, after half-time.

But none of the South Americans could break the deadlock in the second biggest South African crowd-puller after Soweto derbies between Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

South Africa midfielder Percy Tau and New Zealand striker Jeremy Brockie came closest to scoring with the woodwork denying both as the match approached the closing stages.

Tau, considered by many the outstanding Premiership footballer this season, saw his low shot beat Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune only to rebound off the post.

Brockie, who joined Sundowns this month from Pretoria neighbours SuperSport United, was first to the loose ball but his effort rattled the crossbar.

“Although it was unfortunate to strike the woodwork twice in quick succession, we are happy with the result,” said former South Africa striker and coach Mosimane.

“We stifled Chiefs in midfield and gave them very few scoring chances, but our shots-on-target total (two) was disappointing.”

Chiefs coach and former South Africa captain and centre-back Steve Komphela said the huge crowd in the 90,000-seat stadium created a tremendous atmosphere.

“The vibe was fantastic and both teams displayed a lot of energy. All that was missing were goals, but I believe we adopted a positive approach.”

With 11 rounds remaining, record seven-time Premiership champions Sundowns have 35 points and Pirates and Chiefs 30, along with Cape Town City, who play Sunday.

Zambian Justin Shonga scored his first goal for Pirates as they triumphed 2-0 away to bottom club Platinum Stars in northwestern mining town Rustenburg.

Defending champions Wits, who have spent much of the season propping up the table, continued a revival by winning 4-1 at off-form SuperSport.

Malawian Frank “Gabadinho” Mhango, James Keene from England and 2011 Tottenham Hotspur signing Bongani Khumalo were among the scorers for the Johannesburg outfit. – Agence France-Presse

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