Chiefs, Downs ends goalless

It was a slow and cagey opening half of football as both sides adopted a cautious approach to proceedings, with chances few and far between.

It was stop-start as early as the fifth minute when George Lebese pulled up with a groin injury. After being stretchered off, after five minutes of treatment it was determined that he had torn his adductor muscle and could not continue. He was replaced by Sula Matovu.

The tempo of the game remained slow throughout the half as the likes of Keagan Dolly, Hlompho Kekana and Camaldine Abraw all tried their luck from distance without any success.

Denis Onyango was the busier of the two goalkeepers and made one save from a shot straight at him from Abraw, and also came out to punch as the same player rose to get onto the end of Tsepo Masilela's dangerous cross. Reyaad Pieterse had nothing to do.

The second half produced a few chances, starting in the 47th minute when Pieterse was called into action to punch clear a dangerous Sundowns ball into the area. Abraw was then immediately released on the break but after taking on two defenders, he could only shoot wide.

In the 58th minute George Maluleka had the best chance of the match. After Siphiwe Tshabalala picked up the ball in the centre of the park and played a sublime through-ball with the outside of his foot, Maluleka's first touch was perfect as he went clean through on goal, but his finish on his left foot with only Onyango to beat was woeful as the ball went wide, with the goal and the goalkeeper at his mercy.

From the 72nd minute onwards it became exciting. Pieterse had to be alert to save Khama Billiat's shot after Erick Mathoho gave the ball away in the box. The rebound fell to Hlompho Kekaka on the penalty spot, but he could only blast over under pressure from defenders.

Eight minutes from time Wayne Arendse had a good opportunity when he met Kekana's drilled free-kick into the area at the far post, unmarked, but he could only find the side-netting.

Minutes later Tebogo Langerman picked the ball up about 40 yards from goal and tried his luck, surprising everybody with a powerful, swerving shot that struck the upright. Pieterse was a mere spectator as the ball cannoned back off the woodwork. 

There were a few more end-to-end passages of play towards the end of the match but neither side could find a breakthrough as the game ended goalless.

The result keeps the Brazilians on top of the table on goal-difference above Mpumalanga Black Aces, who beat Polokwane City 1-0 in the other game on Saturday night.