Goals from Mzwanele Mahashe and Richard Matloga handed Baroka FC a deserved point when they drew their Absa Premiership encounter 2-2 against Mamelodi Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday night.
For the Limpopo-based side, the draw means they’re now sitting at number 14 on the log with 26 points after 27 league matches in their campaign.
On the other hand, the African champions found the back of the net through Khama Billiat and Mahashe’s own goal – which were not enough for them to claim the maximum spoils.
Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele started on a high as they pushed their hosts’ defence, but they were denied by the lanky goalkeeper, Denis Onyango.
However, Billiat netted easily for the hosts in the sixth minute when he finished from the goal line after a dangerous cross down the right through Thapelo Morena.
Just after the 15th minute, the hosts dictated the terms on the park as Billiat, Morena and Themba Zwane combined in the box, yet Zwane’s effort sailed wide.
The Premier Soccer League newcomers looked threatening in the 20th minute as Maboke Mtlakala’s clever header nearly hurt Onyango, but he was ruled offside.
Eight minutes later, Milton Dlamini’s men took the game to Sundowns and Matlakala’s powerful header aiming for the top corner in the box was dealt with by Onyango.
The last five minutes saw Sundowns putting pressure on Baroka’s defence, and they stumbled as keeper Oscarine Masuluke failed to clear Mahashe’s back pass to gift the hosts their second goal.
However, in the injury time, Baroka pulled one back through Mahashe’s powerful header, resulting from a corner on the right – 2-1 at halftime.
The return from the tunnel saw the Limpopo-based side enjoying the ball possession, yet they failed to trouble Onyango and his defence.
Sundowns looked shaky at the back and Baroka continued to pile pressure towards the 70th minute and Matlakala saw his header going over the crossbar.
Substitute Anthony Laffor made an immediate impact in the 73rd minute when he set up Billiat in the box – the Zimbabwean beat his marker, yet his final shot sailed wide.
In the last 10 minutes, Baroka pushed for an equaliser and in the end the defending champions also attacked as Laffor hit the side of the net in the 88th minute.
In the 90th minute, Morena was adjudged to have handled the ball and the referee pointed to the spot.
Substitute Matloga found the back of the net as he beat Onyango on his left corner, making it 2-2 and both sides walked away with a point apiece.
The draw for Sundowns means they are still placed at No 2 on the log with 55 points from 28 league matches.