Mamelodi Sundowns were held to a 2-2 draw by Maritzburg United in an entertaining Absa Premiership match at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium in Pretoria on Friday.
Hlompho Kekana gave Sundowns the lead in the 25th minute only for Rushine De Reuck to equalize six minutes later.
Sundowns was awarded a penalty for handball minutes after the restart and defender Ricardo Nascimento stepped up and converted the penalty despite the best efforts of Maritzburg’s Ghanaian goalkeeper Richard Ofori, who guessed the right direction.
Just like they did in the first half, Maritzburg did not take long to level the tie. Thabiso Kutumela spun away from his marker and sent an excellent curling effort from outside the box past Denis Onyango in the Sundowns goal.
The defending league champions were then forced to play the final 20 minutes of the game with 10 men after Nascimento was sent off in the 71st minute for a second bookable offence.
Despite being a man down and Maritzburg’s industrious search for a winner, Sundowns held on to claim a point and cut the gap on leaders Kaizer Chiefs to five points with five games left to play.
Kaizer Chiefs, who could have seen Sundowns start the day nine points behind, suffered a shock 3-1 loss to Bloemfontein Celtic on Wednesday. Chiefs lead the way with 52 points followed by Sundowns who have 47 points.
In other games, Bidvest Wits edged second-from-bottom Amazulu 2-1 at Soccer City in Johannesburg. Rowan Human and Deon Hotto scored for Wits while veteran forward Lehlohonolo Majoro pulled one back for Amazulu.
Wits remain in fourth place, level on points with third-placed Supersport United but trail them due to an inferior goal difference. Third place guarantees qualification for the CAF Champions League.
Black Leopards, meanwhile, climbed out of the relegation zone following a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Golden Arrows at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg.
A brace from Mwape Musonda, including a penalty, gave Leopards all three points after Arrows had taken the lead through a Knox Mutizwa penalty.
Leopards are 13th with 26 points, two positions and two points above the relegation zone, while Arrows are 10th with 33 points.