Pretoria - Senegalese striker Mame Niang was both hero and villain for defending league champions Mamelodi Sundowns on Friday, as the Pretoria outfit were held to a 1-1 draw by Maritzburg United at Loftus Versfeld.
Niang nodded down Sundowns' opener as Katlego Mashego scored just 90 seconds into the clash, before conceding a late penalty which pulled United straight back into the match.
Mashego's goal looked to be enough, but United's late penalty from Mohammed Awal dashed all hopes of a win on the opening day of the league season, following a shock defeat to Platinum Stars in the opening round of the MTN8 last weekend.
Sundowns boss Pitso Mosimane re-jigged his side and included Niang in his starting line-up, a decision which seemed to pay off as Niang made a bright start.
Niang, who joined from SuperSport United in the off-season, made an instant impact and set up Mashego with less than 90 seconds on the clock.
Teko Modise's corner drew goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters out of his goalbox, before a terrible lapse from the United defence allowed Niang to nod on for an unmarked Mashego, who made no mistake from close-range, to open his account for the season.
Niang looked dangerous and allowed Sundowns to attack with authority, while Maritzburg struggled to keep up with their hosts, who were running riot.
Sundowns looked comfortable despite somewhat of a stop-start affair midway through the half, but never looked troubled at the back.
Walters, however, was kept busy in goal and saw plenty of impetus from the home side's strikers, who looked hungry for goals.
Despite the positive start from the hosts, Sundowns were content in the second period to sit back and struggled to make the same impact as they enjoyed in the first.
But their poor performance at the back would come back to haunt them as Niang fouled a United forward inside the area, prompting the spot-kick.
It was a poor result for Sundowns, who will feel aggrieved, while United looked by far the happier of the pair, earning a valuable point away from home. - Sapa