Downs fail to score against Celtic


Last season, then co-coaches Miguel Gamondi and Neil Tovey were fired after achieving a goalless draw against Phunya Sele Sele at home.

But it looks unlikely that Brazilians chairman Patrice Motsepe will act now, as he already sacked head coach Gordon Igesund a few weeks ago.

However, caretaker coach Trott Moloto will certainly be worried because, as a result of the draw, Sundowns still linger in 12th position on the Absa Premiership log. Celtic are one position above last season's League champions.

Celtic had an interesting surprise; goalkeeper coach Simon Gopane, now 37-year-old, replaced Posnett Omony, whose mistake against Orlando Pirates cost Phunya Sele Sele the match earlier in the week. It was Gopane's first start this season.

In another weird development, Khabo Zondo, who was sacked as head coach a week ago, will make a miraculous return to Bloemfontein and be in charge again from Monday.

The Brazilians had the brighter start to the match with Lerato Chabangu making some threatening runs on the left flank. In the 5th minute, it was also Chabangu who handed Godfrey Sapula a great opportunity to score the opener.

'The Godfather' lobbed the ball nicely over goalkeeper Gopane, but also, and more disappointingly from a Sundowns point of view, over the crossbar.

Bloemfontein occasionally looked threatening on the counter-attack, exposing the ill-at-ease looking centre-back Robyn Johannes.

On the other hand, Esrom Nyandoro and Jorge Acuna controlled the central midfielder for Sundowns, winning and distributing the ball well. Celtic goalie Gopane got himself into trouble after 15 minutes when he tried to dribble past Chabangu, only to lose the ball.

However, Gopane corrected his mistake through, accordingly, first blocking Chabangu's shot followed by that of Sapula.

Sundowns started to take full control of the match towards the end of the first half, creating several goalscoring opportunities via Brian Aldave, Chabangu and, again, Sapula.

However, either Gopane stood in the way of a goal or the Sundowns player misdirected the shot or header, missing the target as a result.

The second half started like a copybook of the first half with the Brazilians attacking, while Phunya Sele Sele again tried to counter-attack.

But Sundowns' attacking spirit was not helped by getting little width from the right flank, where Fanyana Dhladhla tucked inside too much.

As a result, everything was cramped too much into the centre, as Chabangu also started to play more and more inside, looking for a goal.

Sundowns coach Moloto's changes did not help as well, when he brought on two central midfielders in Brent Carelse and Surprise Moriri, replacing Sapula and striker Aldave.

Moriri was positioned as the lone striker up front, but that is no longer a position he favours these days. Moloto tried to correct his mistake 20 minutes later by bringing on striker Peter Ndlovu.

However, what the Brazilians needed most was a winger to put some telling crosses into the box.

Still, Sundowns created numerous chances through Nyandoro, Moriri, Dhladhla, but the ball could not find the back of the net.

"Bloemfontein came for a draw and they got it," reflected Sundowns coach Moloto. "Still, we created so many opportunities, especially in the first half, and we should have scored."

While Bloemfontein caretaker co-coach David Modise was "happy with the point".

On the return of Zondo as head coach and the future of fellow co-coach Benjamin Reed and himself, Modise reacted: "I haven't heard from management yet. I will wait and see what their plan is for us."