Downs draw and are dethroned as league champions

Kurt Lentjies and Tiyani Mabunda © Gallo Images
Kurt Lentjies and Tiyani Mabunda © Gallo Images

Two late goals from Yannick Zakri was not enough to ensure Mamelodi Sundowns retained their Absa Premiership title as they drew 2-2 against Maritzburg United at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday night.

The draw for the African champions sees them sitting at No 2, behind 2016/17 champions Bidvest Wits with one league game to go.

For United, two goals from Brian Onyango and Evans Rusike ensured they walked away with a point from Tshwane.

The penultimate encounter saw the hosts taking the game to the Team of Choice and Tebogo Langerman saw his effort being saved by United goalkeeper Virgil Vries in the first minute.

In the 29th minute, Onyango handed the hosts the lead when he converted with a powerful header after meeting a pin-point cross, 1-0.

Three minutes later, Vries was equal to the task as he denied Teko Modise’s well directed header to the far post as he showed his quality between the sticks.

In the 40th minute, Percy Tau delivered a wonderful cross in search of Khama Billiat, but the Zimbabwean couldn’t connect with the pass.

It was 1-0 for United at halftime.

In the 68th minute, United doubled their lead when Rusike outpaced Sundowns’ Motjeka Madisha and managed to beat Mweene on his near post, 2-0.

In the last nine minutes, a dangerous combination between Hlompho Kekana and Tau in the box saw Vries punching away the skipper’s well struck shot over the cross bar for a corner kick.

Yet with two minutes to go, substitute Zakri broke the deadlock for the hosts after a defence splitting pass from the midfield, 2-1.

In the injury time, Vries failed to collect the ball in the box and Sundowns scored their second goal through Zakri, but it was not enough as they were dethroned as league champions.

On the other hand, the draw for the visitors sees them occupying the seventh spot with 37 points, with one match to wrap their season.

Mamelodi Sundowns: (0) 2 (Zakri 88′, 90′)

Maritzburg United: (1) 2 (Onyango 30′, Rusike 67′)

Mamelodi Sundowns: Mweene, Langerman, Morena, Soumahoro (Nthethe 35′), Madisha, Modise (Zakri 57′), Mabunda, Billiat (Laffor 63′), Zwane, Kekana, Tau

Maritzburg United: Vries, Fransman, Weidlich, Onyango, Makaringe, Rusike (Fileccia 83′), Ndlovu, Shandu, Maboe, Lentjies (Mokate 69′), Mekoa

Sourced from the PSL website.

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