Sundowns outplay dismal United

2011-11-21 00:00

MARITZBURG United simply didn’t show up at the races yesterday as they were outplayed in every aspect of the game, going down 1-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns in Pretoria.

The final score line flattered the visitors, who were punished only once for some sloppy defending. A 22nd minute strike from Elias Pelembe was the difference between the sides, though it could have been more for the hosts.

United had spent the first 15 minutes of the match relatively untroubled, but it wouldn’t be long before Downs midfielder Teko Modise stamped his authority on the tie.

In the 15th minute Modise found himself in space and blasted narrowly over United goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters’ goal from outside of the 18-yard area.

Seven minutes later and Modise’s influence would have far greater consequences for United.

The Bafana Bafana man played a delightful one-two with Punch Masenamela, who passed the ball back across goal into the path of Pelembe, who made no mistake with his left-footed finish that gave Walters no chance.

Sundowns could have doubled their lead in the 27th minute when an error from United centre-back Mor Diouf gave Sundowns striker Katlego Mphela a golden opportunity, but he pulled his error wide and to the left of goal.

Just one minute later United were gifted a rare opportunity when Kurt Lentjies got himself behind the Downs back four only to blast an effort wildly away from goal when a composed and placed effort might have been a better option.

With United struggling, coach Ian Palmer opted to remove the attacking Felix Obada for Morné Davids on the half-hour mark in a move that saw Prince Olomu replace Obada on the right of midfield while Davids entered the game on the left.

It didn’t take long for Davids to get into the match. On 32 minutes, Morné Davids found himself on the end of a Fadlu Davids flick on. With an abundance of time, Morné pulled his shot to the right of goal, where Prince Olomu attempted to steer in the equaliser. The angle was far too acute though, and his effort was cleared off the line in a move that was the closest United would come to scoring.

The second half was even more dismal for the visitors, who have now collected only one point from a possible 12 in their last four PSL fixtures.

Renaldo Donnelly replaced Fadlu Davids up front for his first United appearance, but was given so little ball that he was barely noticeable.

Sundowns substitute Themba Zwane almost scored twice within the first eight minutes of the second half — his second attempt a sitter that he headed wide from no more than five metres out.

In the 67th minute, United would have their only joy of the half when it appeared that Prince Olomu might have done enough to put his side back on level terms, but his volleyed effort was well saved by Downs keeper Wayne Sandilands.

Another of the hosts’ substitutes, Nyasha Mushekwi, put his hand up for “miss of the season” in the 79th minute. After doing some impressive work to beat Diouf and leave himself one-on-one with Walters, Mushekwi delievered what is commonly known as a “freshy” and United were let off the hook once more.

Sundowns managed to close off the game untroubled as United continued to misplace passes in pursuit of an equaliser.

“We gave them too much respect — it is our fifth game away from home which is never easy,” Palmer said after the game.

“If you don’t finish your chances, you don’t score goals and that’s the story of our lives.”

• sport@witness.co.za

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