Mamelodi Sundowns again failed to capitalise on an opportunity to pile the pressure on Kaizer Chiefs at the top of the Absa Premiership as they had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Highlands Park at the Dobsonville Stadium.
The defending champions are now three points behind the league leaders Amakhosi, who will play Polokwane City on Saturday.
The result means Sundowns have drawn both of their games since the resumption of the 2019/20 season, while Chiefs have drawn their only game thus far with Wits, neither side grabbing the proverbial bull by the horns just yet.
It was Peter Shalulile who put the Lions of the North the lead in the opening six minutes in Dobsonville on Friday, banging in his 13th league goal of the season with a thunderous strike that gave Denis Onyango no chance.
Gaston Sirino gave Sundowns what they have been missing in their past two games against Bidvest Wits and Orlando Pirates as he was on top of his game on his return from suspension.
This was the Uruguayan’s first game since the resumption of the season and he marked his return with a well-weighted assist to youngster Sphelele Mkhule who, despite his timid physique, towered above the Highlands rear guard to place a header past goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini.
Around the hour mark, Masandawana coach Pitso Mosimane handed youngster Promise Mkhuma his debut after he was promoted from the club’s Mutlichoice Diski Challenge side as he came on for star-player Themba Zwane, who appeared to be struggling to find his groove in the match. However, the debutant did not contribute much and instead picked up a yellow card.
The Brazilians’ next hunt for three points is a trip to the capital city on Monday where they will face Cape Town City, essentially playing at their home away from home as the Loftus Versfeld Stadium is their traditional home ground, although they have adopted the Dobsonville Stadium as their home venue for the remainder of the season.
Highlands Park are in action again on Tuesday at Orlando Stadium against Chippa United.