Downs salvage draw against Maritzburg
Posted: 20 December 2013 Time: 19:29
Mamelodi Sundowns had to equalise in injury time to earn a point against Maritzburg United on Friday night.
The result denied the Brazilians a return to the top of the log and ended a five-game losing streak for the Team of Choice, who came close to a shock victory.
Sundowns broke the deadlock just 10 minutes into the game when Elias Pelembe, making his first League start of the season, was presented with a clear sight on goal in the penalty area. He unselfishly opted for a pass to Katlego Mashego, who easily beat Shu-Aib Walters from close range to make it 1-0.
Sundowns suffered an injury blow midway through the first half when defender Rashid Sumaila appeared to tweak a hamstring in a seemingly innocuous incident. Wayne Arendse came off the bench to replace the Ghanaian.
On 28 minutes Dove Wome almost doubled the hosts' advantage with a quick turn and shot from the edge of the penalty area, but Walters came up with an excellent save to turn the ball away for a corner.
Six minutes later Sundowns were awarded a penalty when Mohammed Awal tripped Khama Billiat just inside the box. Mashego took the spot-kick but was denied by another fine save from Walters.
Just moments later, in the 35th minute, Maritzburg punished Downs for their penalty miss, when Thamsanqa Mkhize provided an inch-perfect cross from the right flank for Orlando Smeekes, who arrived unmarked to score with a header – the visitors' first attempt on goal.
Seven minutes into the second half Sundowns had a great chance to reclaim the lead as Billiat was presented with only the keeper to beat from just inside the box, but he shot wide of the mark, much to coach Pitso Mosimane's frustration.
The Team of Choice soon scored a second to take the lead very much against the run of play, when a Ruben Cloete free-kick was touched toward goal by Mario Booysen – the ball struck the post, rebounded and went into the back of the net off the head of a diving Kennedy Mweene. Booysen was credited with the goal, but it could yet be changed to an own-goal from the keeper.
Just over 10 minutes later Sundowns defender Alje Schut thought he had scored the equaliser when he powered a header on target from a corner-kick, but Walters pulled off a superb save to keep his team in front.
However, there was nothing Walters could do to keep out a low drive from Billiat two minutes into extra time, with the Zimbabwean capitalising on some extreme pressure from Sundowns to score.