Tshakhuma are rookies in the top flight and going into the game, Masandawana were overwhelming favourites. However, Joel Masutha’s side proved to be no pushovers as they gave Sundowns a serious run for their money to earn a point in a goalless draw.
The Venda outfit did most of the chasing as Sundowns enjoyed unparalleled possession of the ball throughout the game and at some point, they had 70% of the ball which allowed Rivaldo Coetzee and Andile Jali to dictate the pass of the game while you could have easily mistaken defender Ricardo Nascimento for an attacker as he found himself in the final third for most of the first half.
Downs could not, however, profit from that possession as the opening half was characterised by missed chances, particularly from captain Hlompho Kekana who did not have the best of games. His best effort was when he struck the woodwork in the 14th minute, otherwise, most of his passes went astray. He was withdrawn around the hour-mark and George Maluleka took his place.
Keletso Makgalwa made his first appearance of the season but he did not last long on the pitch as he had to be substituted off some 20 minutes after coming on. The pacey forward took a knock and he tried to solder on but could not bear the pain. Lebohang Maboe took his place.
The pressure began to mount for Tshakhuma’s backline in the dying moments of the game but the experience of Alfred Ndengane marshalled the rear guard and made sure the visitors steal a point from the defending champions.
Sundowns’ rivals, SuperSport United had a bad day at the office in KwaZulu-Natal where they were given a 3-1 hiding by Golden Arrows. Abafana Bes’thende came off the back of a 1-1 draw against Bloemfontein Celtic and they have goalscorers Velemseni Ndwandwe, Trevor Mathiane and Ntsako Makhubela to thank for earning them all three points against Matsatsantsa A Pitori, while Teboho Mokoena got the consolation for the Pitori-based side.