Stellenbosch FC ended Mamelodi Sundowns’ 15-match winning streak when they held them to a 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon at Danie Craven Stadium in the Western Cape.
In a game played under wet conditions, the Stellies youngsters put on a brave performance against their much-fancied opponents, putting them under immense pressure and creating more dangerous opportunities earlier on in the match.
Junior Mendieta, Devon Titus and Jayden Adams were a constant threat to the Sundowns’ defence, while Sibongiseni Mthethwa was key for Stellies in midfield, by breaking down Sundowns’ attacks.
At the back, it was 18-year-old centre-back, Olwethu Makhanya, and MOTM Vusi Sibiya who impressed, keeping Downs’ forward Peter Shalulile quiet for most parts of the match, until he was substituted later on, with just a good chance to his name, which he missed in the first half with just Sage Stephens to beat.
A draw was a big result for Stellies, considering how Sundowns have been beating everyone in the league for the past 15 matches.
Stellies could have gone one better and went on to win the game.
Downs had started with a much-weakened line-up, with third-choice keeper, Reyaad Pieterse starting in goal, Katlego Mashego, who has just returned from a long injury layoff at left-back, Rivaldo Coetzee at defensive midfield, and Hashim Domingo as well as 18-year-old Ntando Nkosi in attacking midfield.
Despite Downs having 65% of the ball, they hardly threatened Stellies, with most of their play taking place in their own half.
When it comes to chances created, Stellies had the best of them, with seven shots on target, but Pieterse pulled off some great saves to deny Mendieta, Adams, and second-half substitute, Antonio Van Wyk, whose close-range shot was parried away by Pieterse who showed good reflexes.
While Stellies might look at this game as two points dropped, Sundowns almost paid the ultimate price for resting too many of their regulars, with their crucial CAFCL encounter against Al Ahly in mind.