Courageous Maritzburg United Hold 10-Man Sundowns

The result saw the Team of Choice remain sixth on the league standings, while Mamelodi Sundowns also remained second on the log

Maritzburg United frustrated Mamelodi Sundowns in an Absa Premiership match which ended in a 2-2 draw at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Friday evening.

The result saw the Team of Choice remain sixth on the league standings, while Mamelodi Sundowns also remained second on the log – five points behind leaders, Kaizer Chiefs with five games left.

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Masandawana dominated the match from the start with Andile Jali and Hlompho Kekana pulling the strings in midfield for the visitors.

Kekana, who is a long-range specialist, tried to beat Richard Ofori from distance, but the Maritzburg United goalkeeper made a decent save four minutes into the encounter.

The visitors continued to launch attacks and Ricardo Nascimento’s header hit the woodwork in the 16th with Ofori rooted to the ground.

However, the Ghana international was beaten in the 25th minute when Gaston Sirino set-up Kekana, who netted with a deflected effort to make it 1-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns.

Masandawana then put their foot off the pedal and they allowed the Team of Choice to press them and the hosts managed to restore parity just after the half-hour mark.

Sundowns keeper Denis Onyango failed to hold a ball from Keagan Buchanan and Rushine De Reuck scored with a volley to record his first goal for Maritzburg – making it 1-1 in the process.

The reigning Absa Premiership champions tried to restore their lead in the 37th minute when Sirino unleashed a shot which was well saved by Ofori, who was well-positioned.

The score was 1-1 at the interval following a lively first-half which saw Sundowns create many chances, but they converted only one.

Pitso Mosimane’s side applied some pressure on the Maritzburg United defence after the restart and they were awarded a penalty after Nazeer Allie was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.

Nascimento then stepped up and converted the resultant penalty to make it 2-1 to Sundowns in the 50th minute – netting his fifth league goal of the season in the process.

Once again Masandawana were unable to hold onto their lead as Thabiso Kutumela was afforded space to fashion a shot on the edge of the box and he made no mistake.

The former Orlando Pirates marksman unleashed a powerful curling effort to make it 2-2 with Uganda international Onyango well-beaten in the 58th minute.

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Sundowns then suffered a blow as Nascimento received his second yellow card of the match and he was sent off, and Mosimane’s side had to play with 10 players.

Coach Eric Tinkler then made a tactical change – pulling out defender Daniel Morgan and he introduced striker Bongokuhle Hlongwane with 10 minutes left on the clock.

However, Sundowns defended very well at the back despite being numerically disadvantaged and ultimately, the match ended in a 2-2 draw on the night.

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