Awal penalty pegs back defending champions

Awal penalty pegs back defending champions
Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Mamelodi Sundowns battles with Kurt Lentjies, Maritzburg United

Friday Aug 08, 2014. 22:07

A 90th minute Mohammed Awal spot-kick secured a 1-1 draw for Maritzburg United against Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Stadium on Friday evening.

Katlego Mashego's early strike looked to have sealed all three points for the defending Absa Premiership champions, but a late spot-kick handed the Team of Choice a point.

Like the opening league game of the  2013/2014 Absa Premiership season between Mpumalanga Black Aces and Kaizer  Chiefs last season, the game in Pretoria got off to a fast paced start with Downs'taking the lead with only two minutes on the clock.

Mame Niang, who joined the Brazilians from Tshwane rivals SuperSport United made in instant impact as he placed Elias Pelembe's chip on a on a platter for Mashego who in-turn made no mistake from close range.
Sundowns fans would have hoped the early goal would open the floodgates, but it was not the case.

The Team of Choice instead recovered well from conceding the early goal and looked dangerous with Sheldon van Wyk almost finding an immediate reply, his venomous effort from the edge of the area forcing Wayne Sandilands into a good save at his near post.

Both teams played some enterprising football throughout the first half, but with little reward.

Mame Niang went withinga whisker of doubling the hosts lead on the stroke of half-time.

Shuaib Walters played the ball straight to the Senegalese striker who failed to make him pay for a possibly fatal error.

Goalmouth action was virtually non-existent in the second-half with both goalkeepers mere spectators for a large portion of the stanza.

Pitso Mosimane threw of former Team of Choice centre back Mario Booysen with 20 minutes to play as he seemed to shut up shop.

His plan though was derailed with only one minute of regulation time remaining.

Niang went from hero to villain after bringing down second-half substitute Mondi Cele in the area.

Victor Gomes subsequently  pointed to the spot and Awal did the rest, 1-1.

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