Cape Town City became the first team in the league to not lose to Mamelodi Sundowns this season, as they played to a goalless draw on Sunday afternoon’s DStv Premiership fixture at the DHL Stadium.
While the goals didn’t come, it was a highly entertaining fixture, much to the pleasure of those who had come to the ground.
Around 15000 fans made their way to the stadium on a pleasant afternoon, and helped create a great atmosphere for the final fixture before Christmas in an action-packed festive season, especially for Sundowns, who still have two more fixtures — against Moroka Swallows and Polokwane City before the end of 2023. City plays one more game, on the 31st against Cape Town Spurs.
While Downs’ 100% win record and busy schedule had been well documented, the home team headed into this match after a 16-day break, having last played when they lost to Stellenbosch, ending a six-match winning run.
It was the home team with the first shot in anger, as Angolan striker Jo Paciencia’s attempt from the edge of the area went just wide of Ronwen Williams’ goal. Former City man Terrence Mashego tried to test Darren Keet two minutes later but shot straight at the keeper.
The visitors looked to gain control of the possession but were finding things tough going with City’s high press forcing several turnovers.
Luphumlo Sifumba had a pop from just outside the box in the 16th minute, but it sailed over the goal. There was another opportunity for City in the 22nd minute, as Jaedin Rhodes tried a first-time effort, but it curled narrowly high and wide. Three minutes later Darwin Gonzalez was unable to get his shot on target after making a good run into the box.
Thapelo Morena’s effort on the half-hour mark was ambitious, and wayward, while Peter Shalulile had the ball in the back of the net in the 36th minute, but was in an off-side position. Three minutes later Keet made a crucial intervention as Mashego tried to find Shalulile.
Gonzalez missed another chance in the 42nd minute, and moments later Lucas Ribeiro had a great chance to give Sundowns the lead, but somehow his effort went just wide of goal
Just before halftime Williams was called into action to save from a Lorenzo Gordinho header, but at the break it remained scoreless.
An early opportunity in the second for Gonzalez was deflected behind, as was an attempt by Paciencia a minute later. Sphelele Mkhulise’s effort in the 54th minute was always going over.
Shalulile fired just wide in the 66th minute, as Sundowns upped the tempo, especially after the introduction of the experienced trio of Themba Zwane, Aubrey Modiba and Lebohang Maboe off the bench. From a set piece, Rushine De Reuck headed over in the 70th minute.
Another substitute, Thapelo Maseko went on a good run in the 78th minute, but his final shot was deflected behind for a corner. An attempt from Modiba a minute later was also deflected behind.
Rhodes tried an ambitious effort from 30 yards out in the 84th minute, but it went just wide of the upright.