Santos, Sundowns in stalemate
Posted: 12 November 2008 Time: 21:59
Santos showed good determination and fighting spirit to earn a point from their Absa Premiership encounter against Mamelodi Sundowns at the Athlone Stadium on Wednesday night.
The game ended 0-0, with the home side enjoying the better chances on the night.
With the heavy winds of the last couple of days having died down a tad for the start of the game, Sundowns were able to play their trade-mark carpet football and soon settled in to their rhythm early on.
Their powerful midfield, where Jorge Acuna and Lerato Chabangu were very prominent, bossed proceedings for the best part of half an hour, although they struggled to create many clear-cut opportunities.
Katlego Mphela enjoyed the Brazilian's best chance in the 37th minute when, together with Chabangu, he cut through the Santos defence before firing a shot from a tight angle into the stands.
The home side came into their own towards the end of the half, relying mainly on counter attacks, lead by the likes of Bevan Fransch, Erwin Isaacs and Eleazar Rodgers, in which they looked dangerous.
But they never even had a sniff at goal, the closest they came was in the 43rd minute when Rodgers tried to thread Wayne Arendse through on goal, but the ball was cleared before he could get a shot off.
Santos started the second half in a very positive fashion and came close to scoring when Graham King was played in by an Isaacs cross, but King's first time shot was well saved by Calvin Marlin.
A error in the Sundowns defence in the 54th minute then saw King showing great pace to run clean through on goal. But just as he was about to pull the trigger was impeded by Siboniso Gaxa with the referee deeming that it was a fair challenge.
The home side continued to look the more dangerous side and in the 63rd minute King had another chance, but took too long to get his shot away.
In the 73rd minute Sundowns were nearly the recipients of a lucky goal when Mphela's shot struck Vilakazi on the back an looped dangerously before landing on the roof of the net.
Nyandoro nearly burgled it for Sundowns with a cracking strike late on, but a fine Francis Chansa save made sure that Santos got the point they deserved.