Result: Mamelodi Sundowns 0-0 Bloemfontein Celtic
Date: 02 March 2019
Venue: Loftus Versfeld
Mamelodi Sundowns endured a frustrating afternoon after being held to a goalless draw by Bloemfontein Celtic on Saturday afternoon.
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The Brazilians made only one change from their midweek clash with Cape Town City, as Tiyani Mabunda returned to the side at the expense of Andile Jali while Siwelele brought in four new faces in the form of Mpusana Tani, Shadrack Kobedi, Victor Letsoalo and Tebogo Potsane.
Potsane had an early chance for the visitors after just five minutes with a close-range strike that was smothered by Sundowns goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, while Tebogo Langerman fired wide at other end after a somewhat lively opening 20 minutes.
The Brazilians were in control for most of the first stanza, but the combination between Gaston Sirino, Anthony Laffor and Lebohang Maboe was not clicking as Celtic shot-stopper was barely Patrick Tignyemb tested.
There was a long stoppage towards the end of the half as Celtic's Wandisile Letlabika collided with the post. It took 12 minutes before the defender was stretchered off.
Despite the slow start in the early stages of the second stanza from both sides, Tshegofatso Mabaso almost broke the deadlock in the 57th minute after breaking away at the near post inside the box, but his strike was crucially saved by Mweene.
Gaston Sirino had a wonderful opportunity to find the breakthrough for Sundowns in the 72nd minute after he beat the offside trap to go clear inside the box, but he scuffed his effort wide as the home fans' frustration grew.
As a result, Pitso Mosimane made two changes with 15 minutes remaining, as Lyle Lakay and Emiliano Tade came on for Tebogo Langerman Sirino as the hosts pushed for a winning goal.
Sundowns were camped in the Celtic half for the remaining stages of the half, but they were unable to by pass Celtic and Tignyemb and were forced to settle for a point.
The Brazilians moved just two points ahead of second-placed Bidvest Wits who play later in the evening.
Here's how they lined up:
Sundowns: 1. Mweene, 16. Ngcongca, 40. Lakay, 3. Nascimento, 4. Langerman (Lakay 75'), 8. Kekana, 13. Mabunda, 18. Zwane, 28. Laffor, 26. Sirino (Tade 75'), 33. Maboe.
Subs: 31. Pieterse, 5. Jali, 34. Mahlambi, 12. Tade, 32. Madisha, 23. Lakay, 2. Lebusa.
Celtic: 30. Tignyemb, 5. Letlabika (Mahashe 45'), 3. Pfumbidzai, 22. Rikhotso, 13. Letsoalo, 6. Kobedi, 17. Mabasa, 18. Mashikinya, 11. Potsane, 2. Tani, 35. Baloyi.
Subs: 34. Dambe, 12. Maema, 50. Masuku, 4. Dlamini, 38. Mahashe, 19. Sam, 23. Shikweni.