Mabena brace dents Downs title hopes


A brace from Ndumiso Mabena ensured Stars walk away with a point, as Thabo Nthethe and Yannick Zakri scored for the hosts.

Sundowns were in the lead as early as the sixth minute when Nthethe blasted home from close range after sloppy defending by the Stars defence from a corner-kick.

The visitors, though, were level less than 10 minutes later as Mabena completed a smart individual run to slot home beyond Denis Onyango at the near-post.

Gerald Phiri then had an opportunity to hand his side the lead from a free-kick in a good area, but his effort could only rattle the outside of the top netting.

The two early goals seemed to have forced both teams to take up a more cautious approach as the remaining of the half produced little in the way of goal scoring chances.

Dikwena went into the lead eight minutes after the restart as a quick free-kick found Mabena in space to fire home, catching Onyango off-guard and once again beating the keeper at his near-post.

The home side could have been level just after the hour-mark as Zakri met a cross with his head at the far-post, but Mbongeni Mzimela made a good reflex save before Anthony Laffor and Percy Tau's rebound efforts were blocked.

Zakri, though, finally got his first Absa Premiership goal a minute later as he slammed home the eqaliser after a flick-on from an attacking throw-in.

Anthony Laffor should have handed his side in the lead seconds later as Sundowns surged forward on a counter-attack through Tau, who layed it across for the Liberian, but Mzimela made an excellent block from close range to keep the scores level.

Siphamandla Mlilo got his third red card in his first Absa Premiership season, when he was shown a second yellow for a foul on Zakri on the edge of his area in stoppage time.

The Brazilians lost out on a chance to go two points ahead of Bidvest Wits, and regain control of their title defence.

Stars remain in 11th place, with 27 points from 26 games – just four points above the relegation zone.

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