Stars, Sundowns in draw
Posted: 22 November 2008 Time: 16:59
Free State Stars and Mamelodi Sundowns played to a 1-1 Absa Premiership draw at the Charles Mopeli Stadium on Saturday.
In a first half that saw the Brazilians dominate the game in terms of possession and shots on target, it was the men from Free State who went into half time break 1-0 up.
However, Ea Lla Koto's goalkeeper, Mweene, certainly had to earn his money as he denied the Tshwane giants on a number of occasions in the first 45.
Kennedy Mweene was called into action for the first time as early as the fourth minute when a pin-point cross from Dario Monteiro found the head of Katlego Mphela un-marked six yards out from goal. The Zambian goalie did brilliantly diving full length to his right to deny Mphela the opening goal.
Sundowns controlled the game masterfully with some beautiful passing, attacking in numbers, and creating chance after chance, but they could not break down the wall in front of them in Mweene.
In the 16th minute it was Lerato Chabangu's turn to be denied by the Free State goalie. Chabangu fired a fierce shot from 20 yards out that was heading to top right hand corner but a diving save from Mweene pushed the ball round the post.
The Brazilians must have thought it not their day when, eventually, in the 22nd minute Mphela managed to beat the keeper with a shot from just outside the box, but the ball struck the up-right and bounced away from danger.
It was all Sundowns now as Mweene was called into action again in the 24th minute when Chabangu produced an inch perfect cross to find Josta Ndladla six yards out. Ndladla squandered the opportunity as he volleyed the ball over the cross-bar.
When Free State scored in the 37th minute the goal certainly came against the run of play when captain Duncan Lechesa fired home from the spot. In a rare attack on goal Stars broke down the left flank with Matome Madimabe who tried to cross the ball into the box which struck the arm of Derrick Spencer and the referee rightly awarded a penalty. Lechesa mad no mistake as he fired the ball home powerfully, 1-0.
Sundowns definitely went into the half time break dejected as the controlled the game and should have been in the lead but instead they were trailing thanks to a single lapse of concentration in defense.
Mweene continued to stand strong between the posts in the second half when he denied Mphela again in the 61st minute, this time from 12 yards out when the goalie parried his powerful shot around the post for a corner.
As if the Ea Lla Koto keeper wasn't busy enough he even had to save a shot from his own player when a cross came in from the left flank and Stars central defender Sipho Nkosi completely miscued a clearance which nearly went over the head of Mweene, but he managed to tip it over the bar.
Finally, in the 75th minute the Brazilians managed to breach the goal of Mweene. Chabangu provided a perfect in-swinging free-kick from the left to meet the head of Ndladla who rose above the defence to head the ball home. It was a clinical header that Mweene could do nothing about, 1-1.
Stars defended as if their lives depended on it for the last fifteen minutes of the game and it paid off as the game ended 1-1 with both teams picking up a single point for their efforts.