French striker Amadou Soukouna scored a penalty deep into stoppage time as Maritzburg United came from behind to beat Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday evening.
Durban — Log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns suffered their second defeat of the season after they were beaten 2-1 by Maritzburg United in a DStv Premiership encounter at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on a cool Saturday night.
Downs’ goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene was the main culprit for the loss. He misjudged the flight of the ball at first, before he fouled Amadou Soukouna inside the box in added time. Soukouna stepped-up and converted the winning goal.
Before that penalty kick, the Brazilians also had a chance to grab the lead via the spot-kick. but Themba Zwane’s shot was saved by Marcel Engelhardt. Downs, though, still hold a 17-point lead at the top of the log after playing 23 matches.
Despite the defeat, Downs will take some positives from the game heading to their Nedbank Cup last 16 match against amateur side Mathaithai on Tuesday before they host Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly in the CAF Champions League on Saturday.
After those back-to-back wins in continental and domestic football, Sundowns were looking for their third straight win in a row. But that was not an easy task against the Ernst Middendorp coach side that’s still flirting with relegation on the log.
Knowing the danger posed by the wounded Team of Choice, Sundowns were not taking any chances, making only two changes to the team that beat TS Galaxy. That fuelled their bright start where they attacked with purpose from the off.
However, the champions were unlucky not to have grabbed the lead by the 20th minute as they were the only team in the field until then. But thanks to keeper Engelhardt he made sure that Sundowns had nothing to show for their dominance.
Teboho Mokoena was the first player to test the waters but his goal-bound half-volley from close-range came off the head of Riyaaz Ismail and flew over the crossbar. From thereon, Shalulile’s shot from close-range was saved by Engelhardt.
The resultant save from the German went back into play before it landed on the path of Lesedi Kapinga who had a shot at goal but the Team of Choice’s No. 1 fully collected this time around. And that was the turnaround the hosts needed.
Mariztburg started to see more of the ball, looking for the troublesome duo Tawanda Macheke and Friday Samu upfront. But Sundowns were quick to extinguish the fire that the hosts wanted to stoke, taking a lead in a classy fashion.
Winger Haashim Domingo found himself with acres of space down the flank before whipping in a curling cross that found Shalulile nicely who dived in between his two markers to flick his header to the far past of a fully stretched Engelhardt.
But Maritzburg ensured the game was tied on 1-1 at halftime. Downs’ keeper Mweene misjudged the flight of the Keagan Ritchie corner-kick as he found in no man’s land before the ball landed on Alfred Ndengane who headed into an empty net.
Sundowns started the second stanza on a high note, with Kapinga who had had a quiet first half at the thick of things. Kapinga’s final shot at goal was unfortunately cleared off the line after he twisted and turned his marker inside the box.
From thereon, the trickster was close to assisting Shalulile for his second after selflessly setting him up in front of goal but Naazier Allie timelessly cleared the goal-bound effort off the line. That allowed the hosts to breathe a sigh of relief at least.
Downs continued to pile the pressure on the host in search of the lead. Such that they won a penalty after Allie’s hand ball insdie the box. But Engelhardt stood his ground to save the Zwane penalty before Sokouna won it for the hosts.