Percy Tau of Mamelodi Sundowns tackled by Siyanda Xulu of Maritzburg United during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 football match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Maritzburg United at Loftus Stadium, Pretoria on 13 December 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Wednesday Dec 13, 2017. 21:59
Maritzburg United failed to bag their third consecutive Absa Premiership win as they lost 1-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Wednesday night.
Defeat moves the Team of Choice to ninth on the log standings as the Brazilians go five points clear at the summit. Percy Tau with the only goal of the game as the Tshwane giants assert their tag as league favourites.
Both camps battled it out for dominance and ball possession in the opening 10 minutes, but both goalkeepers Richard Ofori and Denis Onyango went untested.
The Team of Choice produced a quick counter attack in the 15th minute and Lebohang Maboe was denied by Onyango on the left post, as the Ugandan keeper parried the ball for a corner.
Five minutes later, the Brazilians were awarded two set pieces as Brian Onyango fouled Tau twice in quick succession, but the hosts could not beat Ofori who collected the deliveries.
Sundowns improved their attack after the 25th minute and Tau was fouled on the edge of the box, but the set piece was cleared by Bevan Fransman.
However, a return ball fell for Themba Zwane whose glancing header went over the crossbar failing to beat Ofori on his left corner.
With eight minutes to go before the interval, Hlompho Kekana unleashed his trademark long range shot at goal, but he was denied by the Ghanaian goalkeeper who was alert to guide his attempt wide of goal.
An end-to-end half, though, would produce no goals as the two teams headed for the tunnel with the game deadlocked at 0-0.
The hosts had a bright start on their return, but United wasted a great chance four minutes into the second half when Tebogo Langerman’s back pass was intercepted by Evans Rusike only to be blocked by the onrushing Denis Onyango.
Following a number of failed attacks to break down United, Sundowns finally scored in the 64th minute as Tau beat Ofori with a powerful shot after receiving a brilliant pass from his skipper in the penalty area.
The visitors thought they had leveled matters in the 85th minute after Rusike's rebounded effort found the back of the net, but the assistant's flag was raised for offside.
In the end, Sundowns doing just about enough to seal all three points.
Mamelodi Sundowns: (0) 1 (Tau 64’)
Maritzburg United: (0) 0
Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango, Langerman, Soumahoro, Morena (Ngconga 87’), Madisha, Manyisa, Kekana, Mabunda, Vilakazi (Zakri 56’), T. Zwane (Arendse 87’), Tau.
Maritzburg United: Ofori, Xulu, Makaringe, Maboe, Fransman, Mokate (Shandu 46’), Rusike, Sanoka, Onyango (Fileccia 76’), Ndlovu, Mekoa (Kunene 76’).