A solitary goal from Percy Tau helped Mamelodi Sundowns to a 1-0 win over Maritzburg United in the Absa Premiership on Tuesday night at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.
The hard fought victory increases the Brazilians lead atop the log standings to five points. The Team of Choice fall to ninth as their winning run in South Africa’s top-flight comes to an end in the country’s capital.
With both camps battling it out for dominance and ball possession in the opening 10 minutes, both goalkeepers Richard Ofori and Denis Onyango went untested.
The Team of Choice produced a quick counter attack in the 15th minute and Lebohang Maboe was denied by Onyango on the left post, as the Ugandan keeper parried the ball for a corner.
Five minutes later, the Brazilians were awarded two set pieces as Brian Onyango fouled Tau twice in quick succession, but the hosts could not beat Ofori who collected the deliveries.
Sundowns improved their attack after the 25th minute and Tau was fouled on the edge of the box, but the set piece was cleared by Bevan Fransman.
However, a return ball fell for Themba Zwane whose glancing header went over the crossbar failing to beat Ofori on his left corner.
With eight minutes to go before the interval, Hlompho Kekana unleashed his trademark long range shot at goal, but he was denied by the Ghanaian goalkeeper who was alert to guide his attempt wide of goal.
It was an end to end affair in the final five minutes, but both sides remained firm at the back to head to the tunnel deadlocked at 0-0.
The hosts had a bright start on their return, but United wasted a great chance four minutes into the second half when Tebogo Langerman’s back pass was intercepted by Evans Rusike only to be blocked by the oncoming Onyango.
Following a number of failed attacks to break down United, Sundowns finally scored in the 64th minute as Tau beat Ofori with a powerful shot after receiving a brilliant pass from his skipper in the penalty area.
Pitso Mosimane’s troops had more time on the ball in the final 10 minutes, yet United responded to great effect in the closing stages.
The visitors thought they scored in the 85th minute through a rebound from Rusike’s attempt, but it was disallowed as the assistant’s flag was raised for offside.
Sundowns doing just about enough to increase their stranglehold on the league.
Mamelodi Sundowns: (0) 1 (Tau 64’)
Maritzburg United: (0) 0
Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango, Langerman, Soumahoro, Morena (Ngconga 87’), Madisha, Manyisa, Kekana, Mabunda, Vilakazi (Zakri 56’), T. Zwane (Arendse 87’), Tau.
Maritzburg United: Ofori, Xulu, Makaringe, Maboe, Fransman, Mokate (Shandu 46’), Rusike, Sanoka, Onyango (Fileccia 76’), Ndlovu, Mekoa (Kunene 76’).