Frustration as champs Sundowns held in PSL opener

2014-08-09 09:33

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Senegalese striker Mame Niang was both hero and villain for defending league champions Mamelodi Sundowns as the Pretoria outfit were held to a 1-1 draw by Maritzburg United at Loftus Versfeld.

Niang nodded down for Katlego Mashego to score Sundowns opener just 90 seconds into last night’s clash, before conceding a late penalty.

Mashego’s goal looked to be enough, but United’s late penalty, converted by Mohammed Awal, dashed 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 rejigged his side and included Niang in his starting lineup, a decision which seemed to pay off as the Senegalese hitman 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 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.

Sundowns looked comfortable, albeit sluggish, but never looked troubled at the back.

Walters, however, was kept busy in goal by the home side’s strikers, who looked hungry for goals.

Despite the positive start, Sundowns were content in the second period to sit back and struggled to make any impact.

This defensive strategy would come back to haunt them as Niang fouled substitute Mondi Cele inside the area, prompting the spot-kick.

It was a poor result for Sundowns, while the Team of Choice looked happy to earn a point away to the PSL champions.

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