Downs drop points after another draw

Premiership

Mamelodi Sundowns failed to close the gap at the top of the Absa Premiership with a 1-1 draw against Highlands Park on Friday evening.

Gaston Sirino returned to the Sundowns line-up after serving a two-match suspension while Sibusiso Vilakazi, who started off the bench against Orlando Pirates, also earned a recall.

Highlands were off to the perfect start after six minutes when Peter Shalulile fired in off the underside of the crossbar after turning Motjeka Madisha on the far side of the area.

The Brazilians slowly surged forward in pursuit of an equaliser shortly before the half-hour mark, but Sirino, Vilakazi and Lebohang Maboe struggled to open up the Lions of the North.

Tapuwa Kapini was called to action for the first time in the match in the final ten minutes of the half after palming Zwane’s shot from the area for yet another corner-kick to Masandawana.

Kapini was eventually breached after four minutes before the interval when Sphelele Mkhulise latched onto a Sirino cross from the near side to head into the bottom

Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango finished the half the busiest after turning Lindokuhle Mbatha’s close-range shot for a corner and parrying Mothobi Mvala’s header off the resultant corner-kick.

Development graduate Promise Mkhuma and Keletso Makgalwa entered off the bench for Masandawana on 58 minutes with Themba Zwane and Vilakazi sacrificed.

The Tshwane side looked for a turn in momentum following the final phase of the match, whilst Highlands steadily threatened to regain the lead.

Masandawana strongly pushed for the winner in the remaining minutes with Anthony Laffor on the field after a lengthy injury layoff, but 1-1 was how it finished in Dobsonville.

The result means league leaders Kaizer Chiefs can move six points clear with a win on Saturday afternoon.

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