Cape Town – Mamelodi Sundowns lost further ground on Absa Premiership leaders Kaizer Chiefs following a 1-1 draw against Bidvest Wits in Durban.
Spirits would still have been riding high for the Brazilians following their Telkom Knockout success over the weekend, but there was little time to celebrate as they returned to action with a tough league fixture against fifth-placed Wits at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
And though they were the better team on the night, Sundowns had to settle for a draw that leaves them nine points behind table-toppers Chiefs.
Wits started brightly, forcing Denis Onyango into an early save after a probing ball into the box, and it was somewhat against the run of play when Sundowns midfielder Gaston Sirino handed his side the lead on 15 minutes.
It was a great run down the right from Andile Jali that created the danger, and his cross found Themba Zwane, who set up Sirino for the goal.
Wits continued to look dangerous, with Haashim Domingo nearly converting after a pinpoint cross from Dean Hotto.
Sundowns looked happy to slow the game down and protect their lead, and the tactic seemed to be working as half-time approached.
But with the clock running down, another perfect cross from Hotto found Gift Motupa, who rose to head the ball into the back of the net and level matters heading into the break.
Sundowns started the second half with lots of intent, and they should have retaken the lead in the 55th minute when a perfect ball Zwane in the penalty area but he somehow missed the target with an open goal beckoning.
Ten minutes later they went close again, Motjeka Madisha hitting the post from a well-taken short corner.
But while they continued to dominate the exchanges, Sundowns could not find a way through and bar a half-chance from Wits’ Sfiso Hlanti, the remainder of the match played out without much further incident as it ended all square in Durban.
Sundowns are back in action on Saturday against Polokwane City while Wits entertain Cape Town City on Friday evening.