4 February 2009
UNITED CRASH TO DOWNS
Two penalties saw Maritzburg United going down 3-0 to Sundowns at the Chatsworth Stadium on Wednesday night.
Fortune was not on the side of United as Surprise Moriri struck with a hat-trick - his first goal coming from a debatable penalty, while his third hit the underside of the crossbar before creaping over he line.
For their part, Maritzburg dominated ball possession and created numerous chances but were kept out by fine goal keeping from Calvin Marlin, coupled with a few off target shots.
There were stages in the game when United had the Sundowns box under siege with ling throw-ins and crosses, but the ball did just not fall in the right places for the Maritzburg strikers.
The visitors scored in as early in the eighth minute when Moriri converted from the spot after Kurt Lentjies had gone down under a challenge from Tshepo Mashishi - the decision to award a spot kick appeared harsh as it was unclear if Lentjies had in fact been fouled in the box.
Despite going behind, Maritzburg stuck to their guns and went in search of an equaliser. Clear-cut chances were however rare with the best opportunities falling to Sylla Mbemba and Tony Tzabedze, none of whom were able to hit the target.
United were given a numerical advantage in the 35th minute when Sundowns defender Vuyo Mere was sent off after a second yellow card.
After a positive start to the second half, keeper Tashrique Goldman made a fine save in the 52nd minute from Lentjies to keep the Team of Choice in the game.
But only a minute later Maritzburg suffered a big set back when John Arwuah was penalised for a clash with Lentjies in the box.
Moriri converted nonchalantly to make it 2-0.
Still the home side refused to give in, playing with their characteristic never-say-die attitude and Marlin had to be at his best to tip Arwuah's 63rd minute shot over the bar.
When Tzabedze's powerful shot appeared to strike a Sundowns defender's arm, no spot kick was awarded and shortly afterwards Lebohang Kukane shot over the bar from close range after a lay-off by Junior Khanye.
The best chance for United fell to Brice Aka when he headed goal-wards from six yards out, only for Marlin to pull off a fine save.
Sundowns secured the win in the 73rd minute when Lentjies squared for Moriri, who took a touch before beating an on-rushing Goldman and then seeing his shot hitting the bar and bouncing centimetres over the line.
Khanye had a chance to pull back a goal in stoppage time, but miss-fired with his close range volley.