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Title race still wide open after Mamelodi Sundowns' shock loss to Baroka

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Sundowns v Baroka
Sundowns v Baroka
PA/Supplied

Mamelodi Sundowns suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Baroka FC at the Dobsonville Stadium on Sunday evening.

Ananias Gebhardt scored the only goal of the game with a strong header on 20 minutes to seal all three points.

The result left Sundowns level on 53 points with Premiership leaders Kaizer Chiefs, who lost 1-0 to Bidvest Wits earlier in the day.

Baroka, meanwhile, moved three points clear of the relegation places from 15th to 13th.

It was a cagey start from both sides before Sundowns began to dominate possession and pass the ball around the park.

There was an early half-chance for the Brazilians with Jose Meza finding himself played in on goal but goalkeeper Ayanda Dlamini was well-placed to make the block.

Brazilians stopper Kennedy Mweene was almost caught out by a ball into the box from Tshidiso Patjie on 10 minutes that he ultimately sent out for a corner.

Baroka began to run at their opponents, looking to benefit on the counter, but it was from a set-piece that they opened the scoring, as Gebhardt rose highest to head home an inswinging Patjie corner from the left-hand side.

Motjeka Madisha headed a 30th minute Gaston Sirino corner wide of the target while a Lyle Lakay free-kick on 36 minutes fizzed past Dlamini in the Baroka goal for the last real opening of the first half.

Sirino fired over from close range at the beginning of the first half as the ball arrived at the back post from a deep cross.

Sundowns were dealt a blow with an injury to Andile Jali, with Sibusiso Vilakazi on to replace him, as Lebohang Maboe was brought on for Meza up front.

Sirino powered a 56th minute shot just past the Baroka goal as he latched onto a long ball from Hlompho Kekana.

Sundowns were then dealt another blow as substitute Vilakazi was replaced by Promise Mkhuma just nine minutes after his introduction having succumbed to a dangerous tackle from Patjie.

Richard Mbulu was introduced for Patjie just after Dlamini was forced to punch clear a Sirino ball into the box on 65 minutes, while Nhlanhla Mgaga was well off target with his strike from range for Baroka.

Sundowns boss Pitso Mosimane made a last-ditch throw of the dice with the introduction of Phakamani Mahlambi for Sphelele Mkhulise as Matlala Makgalwa replaced Anele Ngcongca with 20 minutes to play.

Mahlambi was close to an equaliser inside the box after Sirino dummied a good ball in from Maboe but Bonginkosi Makume made a good clearance.

Maboe soon after smashed a super cross into the Baroka box with time running out but there were no Sundowns' players looking to attack the ball.

Try as they might, the reigning champions were unable to break down the Baroka defence, leaving the title to go right down to the wire with two games left to play.

- TEAMtalk media

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