Downs see off Maritzburg
Posted: 30 January 2016 Time: 19:37
Mamelodi Sundowns extended their lead at the summit with a 3-2 defeat of bottom-club Maritzburg United on Saturday night.
Man of the Match Hlompho Kekana netted either side of Khama Billiat's 48th minute strike for Sundowns before Evans Rusike and Brian Onyango reduced the deficit late on at Harry Gwala Stadium.
The Brazilians have 36 points from 16 Absa Premiership games - three more points than Mpumalanga Black Aces.
AmaZayoni edged Chippa United 1-0 in a simultaneous fixture to inch ahead of Bidvest Wits into second on the table.
Wits, with 32 points, will play their 16th league match of the season against Bloemfontein Celtic at Dr. Petrus Molemela Stadium on Sunday.
There was an early scare for the Tshwane team when Maritzburg winger Philani Zulu went close to scoring when his header flashed wide of the far post on eight minutes.
Sundowns though nearly opened the scoring six minutes later when Teko Modise picked out Kekana, whose header came back off the bar and then the upright, Thabo Nthethe unable to bundle it in at the far post.
Modise’s rasping drive forced Maritzburg keeper Glenn Verbauwhede into the first save of the game after 15 minutes as the Brazilians began to take a hold of proceedings.
Kekana broke the deadlock after 36 minutes when he strode forward from the middle of the park, exchanging passes with Leonardo Castro before sliding in to score from close range.
Soon after Portugal-bound midfielder Bongani Zungu was forced off with an injury, prompting Downs coach Pitso Mosimane to bring on Mzikayise Mashaba.
Castro could have made it 2-0 before the break, but sent a header wide of goal.
The second half saw Sundowns in relentless mood, the Gauteng team going close through Wayne Arendse before Billiat made it 2-0 in the 49th minute with a crisp grass-cutting finish from the right hand side of the box after his pace had taken him clean through on goal.
Modise had a shot saved and went inches wide with a volley as Downs’ total domination continued, the Team of Choice’s defence looking rattled.
It wasn’t long before the third did arrive, Kekana showing wonderful skill in the box to beat a couple of defenders before picking his spot at the far post; 3-0 to the visitors after 64 minutes.
Maritzburg were lucky not to concede five minutes later when Billiat missed a sitter right in front of goal.
Rusike reduced the deficit for the hosts seven minutes from time with a clinical finish after combining with Gregory Maasdorp.
Onyango then scored with a brilliant volley deep in added time, but there was to be no way back for Ernst Middendorp’s men who remain anchored to the foot of the table.
HOME: Maritzburg United
Coach: Ernst Middendorp
AWAY: Mamelodi Sundowns
Coach: Pitso Mosimane