Free State Stars were unlucky to not pick up all three points against SuperSport United after a 0-0 draw in their Premiership clash at the James Motlatsi Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The hosts were simply sensational in the first half and ran their opponents ragged, although without breaking the deadlock as they hit the crossbar on a number of occasions while also missing some good goal-scoring opportunities.
The second half was a more cagey affair with neither team able to find the breakthrough and claim all three points from an exciting encounter – where Matsatsana goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse picked up the man of the match award.
It was a frenetic start to this game with Sinethemba Jantjie making an early impression down the left flank with a jinking run before losing out to Dean Furman.
Reneilwe Letsholonyane got the crowd going with some good skills on the edge of the area moments later, that saw him find Kingston Nkhatha, but he failed to test Stars stopper Christopher Mafoumbi with his first chance of the tie.
Pieterse was then left stranded at the other end as Mohammed Anas hit the crossbar with a rasping shot before being forced down low to make a save from the same player.
Moeketsi Sekola then somehow hit the crossbar from inside the small box when all that was needed was a tap-in as the ball broke to him after Pieterse kept out Anas from close range.
The action heated up as Morgan Gould headed against the crossbar as he connected to a Thabo Mnyamane free-kick.
A superb counter attack for Stars resulted in Makhehlene Makhaula shooting wide when he really should have scored after Pieterse had done very well to keep out Anas’ initial shot from the left-hand side ten minutes before half-time.
As the action continued to swing from end to end, Letsholonyane fired just over as Anas saw his low header from the left, from a good Venter delivery blocked by Gould.
Pieterse kept out another certain Stars goal with a super reflex save from a downward header from Anas from close range from the left of the small box from a Makhaula delivery at the end of the opening 45 minutes.
Chances were few and far between after the break, and as Makhaula fed Sekola with a square ball on the edge of the box, he saw his shot was well blocked en route to goal.
Mafoumbi got down well soon after to save a Thuso Phala headed knockdown before a shot that went just wide from Sekola.
Pieterse had to be alert to come off his line quickly and clear under pressure from Anas midway through the second half, who had raced onto a good straight ball through the heart of the SuperSport defence, as a good Venter delivery was cleared on 74 minutes by Daniels.
Minutes later, Anas forced yet another near post save from Pieterse after being fed by substitute midfielder Tebego Potsane.
Stars though should have scored at the death as Sekola forced another good save from Pieterse before Makhaula fired the rebound over from close range – as both sides settled for a point.