KAITANO TEMBO’S SuperSport United ended Mamelodi Sundowns’ record-breaking 13-match run, without conceding a goal, with a storming fightback in a 2-2 draw in a South African Premiership derby, at Loftus yesterday.
Before Gamphani Lungu and Teboho Mokoena scored two late goals, the Brazilians were cruising through well-taken goals by Neo Maema and Peter Shalulile.
Maema, who produced a virtuoso performance during the first 50 minutes, opened the scoring with a stupendous long-range curler on the stroke of halftime.
He returned even more inspired from the break to provide an assist for Shalulile who beat United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams with a thumping shot from close range as Sundowns took control.
But United responded with goals by Lungu and Mokoena to salvage a much-needed point.
Lungu’s goal was significant as it halted Sundowns’ record-breaking 13-match run without conceding.
Mokoena was the last player to score against the Brazilians, in May last season.
Sundowns were cruising and had a two-goal lead, which appeared set to hand the Zimbabwean coach another defeat, in this Tshwane derby.
The Brazilians were fortunate not to trail in the opening seconds when Thamsanqa Gabuza slammed a cutback from Sipho Mbule against the top of the woodwork.
Sundowns bounced back from the nervous start to bombard the visitors with shots from Shalulile, as well as Themba Zwane, but they could not get the breakthrough.
It came on the stroke half-time when Maema gobbled a pass, outside the area, to curl home a beauty.
Sundowns continued where they left off, at the end of the first half, as a pitched ball in behind from Maema to Shalulile, who finished with aplomb.
Matsatsantsa looked to hit one back soon after, from afar, but Teboho Mokoena’s shot was spilled by goalkeeper Denis Onyango and didn’t find any takers.
The Brazilians’ long-standing run, without a conceding a goal, ended midway in the second half with a neat and cleverly taken finish by Lungu.
Sundowns though could’ve restored their two-goal advantage in the latter minutes from a low first-time effort by Shalulile, but he was parried by Ronwen Williams.
Matsatsantsa drew level right on the 80th minute when Mokoena’s free-kick, from outside the area, dipped off the ground before nestling beyond Onyango, and into the net.
Meanwhile, Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter admitted his side should have been put to the sword by three or four goals after the 1-1 draw with AmaZulu.
Chiefs were without the injured Khama Billiat.
The Amakhosi were on top in the opening 15 minutes but from then on it was all Usuthu, who if they had taken their chances, could have scored several goals.
“This is on prime-time television. I can’t swear, can I? Baxter asked SuperSport TV, tongue-in-cheek.
“I thought it was poor game. I thought we were good for about 15-20 minutes. And then for some reason we switched off.
‘’We had good control of the game but then we switched off and AmaZulu got back into the game in the last 15-20 minutes of the first half where they were threatening without being really dangerous.
“And, then second half we wanted to be braver, we wanted to get on the ball more. But that just led to us losing structure completely.
“And the red card put us up against the wall and we concede what is a very poor goal. But through the whole of the second half the decision-making on our side was very, very poor.
“If I was Benni, I would be going mental that they didn’t put us to the sword by three or four goals because I thought we were that bad.”
He then criticised the referee for inconsistency when it came to dishing out yellow cards.
There were nine yellow cards handed out in an ill-tempered match, but Baxter felt there could have been even more bookings.
“You’re not supposed to criticise the referees,” he said. “But the referee set a precedent in the first half when just in front of me one of the players went in over the top of the ball.
“He gave the free-kick, he saw the incident but he gave no yellow card.
“He said this is the last time and then five minutes later the guy pulls the player back, clear sabotage, and didn’t get a yellow card there.’’ — Sports Reporter/BusinessDayLive/KickOff.com.