DStv Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns were held to a second draw in the space of five days, as they played out a goalless stalemate with Swallows FC at the Dobsonville Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Brazilians, who were confirmed as champions last weekend, played to a 0-0 at home to Cape Town City in midweek and were looking to follow it up with a return to winning form, but the resilient Birds held firm for a valuable result which took them four points clear of the relegation zone.
After a quiet opening phase, Swallows came up with the first notable effort on goal, as Tshediso Patjie cut inside from the left and let fly with a right-footed shot which forced goalkeeper Ronwen Williams into a sharp save on 14 minutes.
Less than 60 seconds later Swallows’ forward Evans Rusike caught Grant Kekana in possession and looked set to open the scoring, but the Sundowns defender recovered to make a last-gasp challenge and spare his own blushes.
‘Downs had to wait until the 27th minute for their first clear scoring chance, with a ball falling kindly for Peter Shalulile from a corner kick, but he blazed a shot high and wide on the turn.
The Brazilians also had the final attacking highlight of the first half, with Teboho Mokoena striking narrowly off target from long range, but the interval arrived with the teams locked at 0-0.
The second half got off to a slow start and both teams made changes heading up to the hour mark, with Abubeker Nasir coming on for Sundowns, while the Birds opted for a defensive substitution in withdrawing Waseem Isaacs in favour of defensive midfielder Darrel Matsheke.
Shalulile had a snap shot from a tight angle saved by goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi at his near post on 60 minutes, with that moment sparking a strong spell of attacking pressure by the team in yellow and blue.
That pressure ebbed and flowed, but Sundowns were always in control of the game and missed out on opportunities to break the deadlock, most notably on 68 minutes when Akpeyi dropped a cross and Shalulile was unable to convert.
Sundowns substitute Gaston Sirino also stung the gloves of Akpeyi with a long-range shot in the 90th minute, but ultimately the hosts were able to secure a share of the spoils.
Sundowns will be back in DStv Premiership action on Wednesday 12 April with a match away to Golden Arrows, while Swallows’ next league fixture is away to Stellenbosch on Saturday 22 April.
Swallows FC 0
Mamelodi Sundowns 0
Swallows: Akpeyi, Damons (Lukhubeni 89’), Allan, Mngonyama, Sam, Mthethwa, Sait, Patjie (Macheke 82’), Mtshali, Rusike (Shwabule 82’), Isaacs (Matsheke 59’)
Sundowns: Williams, Mudau (Morena 67’), Mvala, Kekana, Modiba (Boutouil 78’), Mbule, Mokoena (Zungu 78’), Maema, Mkhulise (Nasir 56’), Domingo (Sirino 67’), Shalulile
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