PSL

Mamelodi Sundowns held by Maritzburg United in Middendorp's return to the dugout

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Judas Moseamedi of Maritzburg United during the DStv Premiership match between Maritzburg United and Mamelodi Sundowns at Harry Gwalla Stadium on December 05, 2020 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Judas Moseamedi of Maritzburg United during the DStv Premiership match between Maritzburg United and Mamelodi Sundowns at Harry Gwalla Stadium on December 05, 2020 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Gerhard Duraan

Defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns were held to a 1-1 draw by Maritzburg United in returning head coach Ernst Middendorp's first game in charge at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday evening.

In-form Sundowns attacker Themba Zwane's first-half goal was canceled out by defender Kwanda Mngonyama in the 60th minute as the two sides shared the spoils

Middendorp will be the happier of the two head coaches in an evenly contested clash that saw the early log leaders go up against the bottom-placed home side in the standings.

The two sides took some time to size each other up while adjusting to the wet Pietermaritzburg conditions in the early stages of the encounter.

Sundowns were unlucky not to take the lead in the 20th minute when Nazeer Allie bailed out his goalkeeper to make a goal-saving clearance off the line.

The Brazilians though were not to be denied at took the lead in the 32nd minute through play-maker Themba Zwane after some impressive attacking play by new signing Peter Shalulile.

The Zimbabwean attacker held the ball up well for fellow attacker Lebohang Maboe who played in the final ball across goal for Zwane who scored his sixth goal in as many games to continue his electrifying form.

That proved the difference in the first-half as the teams headed for the break.

The two sides got back underway with Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana flashing over a shot over the crossbar in the 51st minute.

The home side sent the virtual crowd wild in the 60th minute when defender Kwanda Mngonyama rose highest to get a header on the end of a corner-kick by Daniel Morgan.

Referee Victor Gomes handed out his customary red card in the 78th minute but this time it was Sundowns head coach Manqoba Mngqithi who was given his marching orders.

The two sides canceled each other out in the closing stages heading into the final ten minutes in a truer reflection of how evenly contested the encounter was.

In the 85th minute Maritzburg against the run of play had a chance to clinch all three points when Thabiso Kutumela found himself through on goal but was denied by the onrushing Denis Onyango.

That's how the match ended with Maritzburg United picking up their first point of the season under new coach Ernst Middendorp in the German's first match in charge.

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Fixtures
Sat 16 Jan 21 15:00 PM (SAST)
SuperSport United
Mamelodi Sundowns
Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium
Sat 16 Jan 21 15:00 PM (SAST)
Golden Arrows
Tshakhuma FC
Princess Magogo Stadium
Sat 16 Jan 21 15:30 PM (SAST)
Bloemfontein Celtic
Stellenbosch
Dr. Petrus Molemela Stadium
Results
Wed 13 Jan 21
SuperSport United 2
Bloemfontein Celtic 1
Wed 13 Jan 21
Tshakhuma FC 0
Orlando Pirates 3
Wed 13 Jan 21
AmaZulu 0
Kaizer Chiefs 1
Logs
Team
P
W
PTS
1. Mamelodi Sundowns
10
7
24
2. SuperSport United
10
7
22
3. Swallows
10
6
22
4. Orlando Pirates
10
4
17