Maritzburg hold Sundowns to a draw

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Pretoria - Khama Billiat spared blushes by stealing a stoppage-time equaliser as Mamelodi Sundowns were held to a 2-2 draw by Maritzburg United in a Premiership encounter at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.

The draw denied Sundowns the chance to return to the top of the league standings, after Kaizer Chiefs climbed to the summit on Thursday.

Katlego Mashego opened the scoring in the 10th minute with his sixth strike of the season. But a determinded United outfit equalised through Orlando Smeekes shortly before the half-time interval.

Then, with less than 20 minutes left on the clock, Booysen snatched the advantage from a well-taken set-piece out wide.

But in the end, a minute into the five additional minutes, Billiat drew level to hand Sundowns a point and a share of the spoils in an action-packed fixture in Pretoria.

A quiet period at the beginning quickly made way as Sundowns went on the surge and linked well in midfield.

Elias Pelembe slid an accurate through ball to Mashego in the area, who made no mistake in putting a simple tap-in past goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters for his sixth goal of the season.

Sundowns maintained the pressure and soon had Mashego and Dove Wome rattling-off shots in quick succession, but Walters was equal to the task in goal.

Mohammed Awal then brought down Sundowns' Khama Billiat inside the area, prompting referee Victor Hlungwani to point to the spot and awarded the penalty without hesitation.

But Walters came to United's rescue, palming away Mashego's driven penalty effort away from danger to deny the attacker his second and in doing so, kept the Team of Choice in the game.

Second later, at the other end of the pitch, United drew level through Smeekes, whose powerful header left goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene motionless as the ball sailed into the net in emphatic style.

The Brazilians came out of the interval looking to restore their lead and should have done so through Billiat, but he Zimbabwean international drove his effort wide of the mark when he should have done better.

Maritzburg succeeded in frustrating their hosts, who were finding it tough in the United half, while Maritzburg looked content with sitting back and inviting Sundowns to attack.

Sundowns boss Pitso Mosimane threw on Katlego Mphela and Surprise Moriri, but it was not enough as Maritzburg stole the lead through Booysen against the run of play and without warning.

Booysen whipped in a free-kick from the right, which looked to have taken a touch off Ruben Cloete, but took a nasty deflection from Mweene, who seemingly put the ball into his own net, before the goal was awarded to Booysen.

Billiat was the hero, thundering his effort goalwards, which beat Walters, who was caught off balance in a congested area.

Sapa


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