Ramahlwe Mphahlele of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Leandro Sirino of Mamelodi Sundowns during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs at the Loftus Versveld Stadium, Pretoria on 04 August 2018 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Saturday Aug 04, 2018. 17:20
Kaizer Chiefs held defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns to a 1-1 draw in the 2018-19 Absa Premiership opener at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Ricardo Nascimento with the goals for their respective teams in what was a game of high quality to kick-off the campaign in style.
The 2018-19 season got off to a thrilling start, 15 minutes later than originally scheduled due to the late arrival of most of the sell-out crowd, but well worth the wait.
Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro caused their former employers all sorts of trouble from the get go with the latter firing the first shot in anger straight at Denis Onyango in the fifth minute.
Fellow former Brazilian Mphahlele opened the scoring three minutes later with his first league goal since scoring at the same venue two years ago. The fullback caught Gaston Sirino in possession before firing the ball into the bottom left corner of the net, 0-1.
Sundowns hit back in the 25th minute from the penalty spot following a clumsy challenge on Jeremy Brockie from Daniel Cardoso. Nascimento duly stepped up and made no mistake from the spot, 1-1.
Brockie was lively throughout and the New Zealand international was unlucky not to register his name on the score-sheet in the 38th minute with his rasping effort bouncing off the woodwork and away from danger.
The first chance of the second-half fell to Themba Zwane virtually from the kick-off with Sirino teeing up his teammate with a pin-point pass, but the midfielder fluffed his resulting shot with the goal at his mercy.
Brockie and Castro would squander further chances at either end of the pitch as both teams went in search of the killer blow.
The action, though, would fade in the closing stages of the match as both teams ultimately settled for a point apiece in the South African capital.
Mamelodi Sundowns 1 (Nascimento 25' pen.
Kaizer Chiefs 1 (Mphahlele 8'
Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango; Lakay, Nascimento, Arendse, Ngcongca - Kekana (Mabunda 78'), Manyisa, Zwane - Sirino (Morena 85'), Vilakazi (Maboe 78'), Brockie.
Kaizer Chiefs:Khune; Mphahlele (Moleko 87'), Mathoho, Cardoso, Ntiya-Ntiya - Katsande, Ntshangase, Tshabalala (Ekstein 90'), Billiat - Parker, Castro (Paez 81').