Mamelodi Sundowns grabbed a crucial late away goal to force a 1-1 draw with Golden Arrows in their MTN8 semifinal first-leg clash at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Saturday.
For Sundowns, Thapelo Morena, Kermit Erasmus, Gaston Sirino, Andile Jali and Siphelele Mkhulise came into starting lineup. Meanwhile, Nqobeko Dlamini, Saziso Magawana and Lindokuhle Mtshali were introduced into the Arrows starting lineup.
New signing from Tuks, Nqobeko Dlamini, gave Arrows the lead after just six minutes with a superb strike. He skipped between the two Downs central midfielders and his left-footed strike from 25 yards out skidded through on the wet turf and into the bottom right corner.
The wind and rain was making life a bit more difficult for the players.
Arrows were unnerving Sundowns with their high press and won the ball back outside the Downs box before the ball found its way to Saziso Magawana unamrked at the back post, but he rushed his effort and it went well wide in the end.
The Brazilians had their first decent attempt on goal after Peter Shalulile won a freekick. Lyle Lakay stepped forward and shot from a narrow angle but Sifiso Mlungwana was well positioned to punch the shot away.
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Sundowns won a corner shortly after half-time. Sirino went over to the left to take it and it was flicked on towards goal by Rivaldo Coetzee with Velemseni Ndwandwe having to clear the ball off the line for Arrows.
Nkosinathi Sibisi then chopped down Sirino from behind. Lakay went for goal once again from a long way out and Mlungwana again opted to punch the effort clear instead of risking a catch in the inclement conditions.
Shortly before the hour mark, Lakay delivered a corner from the right for Sundowns and Grant Kekana put an effort over the crossfar from two yards out.
Thabiso Kutumela made an instant impact in the 76th minute just after having come off the bench when his dangerous cross into the area narrowly escaped the outstretched leg of fellow substitute Pavol Safranko.
Sundowns equalised and grabbed a crucial away goal five minutes from time. Kutumela delivered from the right and Mlungwana couldn't hold onto the ball with Safranko tapping the rebound into the back of the net for his first goal in a Brazilians shirt.
Arrows: Mlungwana, Sibisi, Zuke, M.Dube, Cele, Dlamini, Ndwandwe, Mtshali, Mmodi, Magawana, M. Gumede.
Subs: Mbaeva, Mathiane, Mantshiyane, Ndlovu, Sibiya, Sabelo, Mbhele, Conco, Mutizwa.
Sundowns: Onyango, Morena, Lakay, De Reuck, G. Kekana, Jali, Mkhulise, Coetzee, Sirino, Erasmus, Shalulile
Subs: Mweene, Maluleka, Domingo, B. Onyango, Kutumela, Modiba, Maema, Safranko, Vilakazi.