Downs top the log


Mamelodi Sundowns returned to the summit of the Absa Premiership standings with a 2-1 win over Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday evening.

Emiliano Tade and former Maritzburg favourite Lebohang Maboe struck home early goals for the Brazilians who had Gaston Sirino sent off in the second-half. Victory moves the defending champions three points clear atop the log standings.

Fortune Makaringe bagged what proved to be a mere consolation goal for the Team of Choice. The KwaZulu-Natal outfit remain rooted to the foot of the standings, four points from safety.

Tade fired the visitors in front as early as the fifth minute. Maboe’s back-heel flick picked out the Argentine who settled before firing a low shot past the outstretched Richard Ofori from the edge of the area.

Sundowns doubled their lead in the 21st minute as provider turned scorer. Sirino broke the offside trap before teeing up Maboe who made no mistake for his ninth goal in all competitions this season.

Back in goal for Sundowns, Denis Onyango proved his credentials as Africa’s top goalkeeper with a superb double save five minutes later. Thapelo Morena’s miscued clearance found Makaringe who was brilliantly denied by the Uganda international.

Onyango was at his best once more in the 28th minute. First-half substitute Yannick Zakri looked sure to score when he latched onto a cross into the area, but Onyango was up to the task once more.

Maritzburg ended the half strongly and Onyango’s fellow countryman Allan Kateregga tested his range just short of the break, but the Sundowns No 1 was well positioned to make another good save.

Following chances at either end of the park in quick succession following the interval, Sundowns were dealt a major blow as Sirino received his marching orders. Victor Gomes booked the Uruguayan for time-wasting, provoking a gesture from the Sundowns attacker who duly received his marching orders for dissent.

Themba Zwane squandered a gilt-edged chance to put the game beyond any reasonable doubt in the 76th minute. A defensive mistake allowed the attacker a clean passage through on goal, but he could only succeed in pushing his resulting attempt wide of goal.

He was made to rue the miss in the 83rd minute as Makaringe halved the deficit. The midfielder with the easiest of finishes after Onyango failed to hold onto a looping ball into the area.

The Team of Choice piled forward in search of the equaliser in the closing stages of the match, but Sundowns showcased their experience to claim all three points.

Maritzburg United (0) 1 (Makaringe 83′)

Mamelodi sundowns (2) 2 (Tade 5′ Maboe 21′)

Maritzburg United: Ofori; Kunene, Xulu, Allie, Sanoka, Makaringe, Matsi (Mekoa 56′), Kutumela (Moseamedi 69′), Kateregga, De Reuck (Zakri 27′), Shandu.

Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango; Langerman, Nascimento, Coetzee, Morena, Mabunda, Kekana, Zwane (Mahlambi 84′), Sirino, Tade (Lakay 64′), Maboe (Arendse 86′).


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