Sundowns title party beckons after Maritzburg thriller


Percy Tau of Mamelodi Sundowns tackled by Siyanda Xulu of Maritzburg United. (PHOTO/Samuel Shivambu/...
Percy Tau of Mamelodi Sundowns tackled by Siyanda Xulu of Maritzburg United. (PHOTO/Samuel Shivambu/Courtesy)

In Summary

  • Mamelodi Sundowns need three points from two matches to seal a record-extending eighth South African Premiership title after a thrilling 2-2 draw at Maritzburg United Wednesday
  • While the Pretoria club are on the cusp of glory, Platinum Stars lost 2-1 at home to AmaZulu and were relegated after finishing third in the last campaign

Mamelodi Sundowns need three points from two matches to seal a record-extending eighth South African Premiership title after a thrilling 2-2 draw at Maritzburg United Wednesday.

While the Pretoria club are on the cusp of glory, Platinum Stars lost 2-1 at home to AmaZulu and were relegated after finishing third in the last campaign.

Sundowns led twice in eastern city Pietermaritzburg through goals from Themba Zwane and Thabo Langerman as they sought to avenge a South African FA Cup semi-final loss there last Sunday.

But goals from Belgian Andrea Fileccia and Lebohang Maboe earned third-place United a point from a superb match watched by a capacity 14,500 crowd.

“Obviously, we wanted all three points, but one will do,” said Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane, the former South Africa striker and coach.

“It was a beautiful game that everyone at the stadium and watching on TV must have enjoyed — a wonderful advertisement for South African football.

“We had none of this ‘parking of buses’ or five men at the back. Instead, we had two teams full of energy whose passing was out of the top drawer.”

Maritzburg coach Fadlu Davids was equally upbeat, saying: “What a fantastic performance from both teams. I cannot commend them enough.

“This match resembled a game of chess. Sundowns outthought us early on, then we outthought them. Neither side dropped their heads when they were on the backfoot.”

Orlando Pirates made light of having to play behind closed doors in Soweto by thrashing outgoing champions Wits 4-0 with three of the goals coming from Zambians.

Augustine Mulenga bagged a brace and compatriot Justin Shonga converted a penalty after Sifiso Hlanti conceded an early own-goal.

Spectators were barred as part of a belated punishment given to Pirates after their supporters wreaked havoc during a 6-0 loss at Sundowns last season.

Sundowns have 56 points and Pirates 52 with two rounds remaining in the richest African football league with 30 million rand (about $2.5 mn/2 mn euro) prize money.

The leaders host second-last Ajax Cape Town Saturday at the same time as Pirates are away to sixth-place Cape Town City.

SuperSport United, who many pundits had tipped as potential champions, clawed out of the danger zone with a dramatic 3-2 home win over Free State Stars in Pretoria.

Teboho Mokoena scored a 90th-minute winner for the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup runners-up after Free State equalised twice.

Platinum fired coach Cavin Johnson last season and he returned to northwestern mining town Rustenburg with AmaZulu and condemned his former team to second division football next season.

 

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Story By AFP
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