Manqele snatches late draw for Downs
Mamelodi Sundowns twice had to come from behind to eventually earn a 3-3 draw against Moroka Swallows in a thrilling MTN8 semi-final first-leg encounter at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday.
Felix Obada, Ashraf Hendricks and Bennett Chenene were all on target for Swallows, while a Teko Modise penalty, Hlompho Kekana's cool finish and Edward Manqele's late strike ensured a tight second-leg in a week's time.
The game began at a frantic pace, and Swallows went in front after just six minutes, a Greg Etafia goal-kick finding Chenene, who did brilliantly to keep the ball in and eventually fired across goal, and Wayne Sandilands could only deflect the ball into the path of Obada, who tucked home his effort from close range.
Two minutes later and Zeca Marques' men made it 2-0, Hendricks heading a corner down to loop the ball over the goalkeeper and three defenders before nestling in the back of the net.
On 16 minutes Sundowns managed to pull one back, the ball striking Shere Lekgothoane's arm inside the area, with Modise firing home from the spot at the second attempt after Etafia's initial save didn't count as the goalkeeper had come off his line.
Six minutes after the restart Johan Neeskens' men really should have gone level as some wonderful build-up play ended with Elias Pelembe crossing in to pick out the unmarked Manqele, but his downward header bounced up and over the goal to leave the striker clutching his head in his hands.
The Tshwane giants almost found a way back on the hour mark as a free-kick was laid off to Modise on the edge of the area, but his low drive came back up off the up-right while the defenders were first to react and could clear the danger.
Midway through the second period, though, and Downs drew level, Kekana finding himself unmarked inside the area before producing a simply gorgeous effort to tuck the ball past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Marques' charges regained the lead with just 15 minutes to go, Chenene breaking in behind the defence to latch on to a through-ball before putting his effort past the keeper and in the back of the net.
However, with just five minutes to go Manqele grabbed the equaliser, receiving a cross before controlling inside the area and rifling his shot into the roof of the net from a very tight angle.
The result sees Sundowns' long winless run against Swallows in cup competition continue, with the Tshwane giants having not beaten the Soweto outfit in 11 outings, their last victory coming way back in 1989 in the Bob Save Super Bowl.