Going into their penultimate league fixture, Sundowns’ title hopes were resting on a knife’s edge. Despite victory being essential on the night, Masandawana knew that the title was no longer in their hands and would have to rely on the log leaders Bidvest Wits dropping points.
However, Wits defeated Polokwane City 2-0 at the Bidvest Stadium and they clinched their first ever PSL title. Ahead of kick-off, Sundowns’ coach Pitso Mosimane rang the changes following the Tshwane giant’s draw in their Caf Champions League opener on Saturday. Most notably Percy Tau and Tiyani Mabunda were roped back into the starting line-up for the clash.
Although, Sundowns had the better chances in the first half, Maritzburg were not allowing themselves to be overawed and were a constant danger from set pieces. With half an hour played in the clash, Mosimane was left frustrated as his side fell behind from a dead ball situation. Maritzburg defender Brian Onyango Mandela profited from a superb Deolin Mekoa corner and powered his header home.
With time running out, Sundowns pushed men forward, leaving themselves vulnerable on the break. In the 67th minute, Maritzburg attacker Evans Rusike scored a sensational goal as he effortlessly powered his way past the Sundowns’ defence, before delicately dinking the ball over Kennedy Mweene.
Zakri scored a consolation goal as he slotted his effort past Vries, from close range with two minutes left. In stoppage time, the Ivorian grabbed his second of the night, but it was too little to late as Maritzburg confirmed their place in the top eight. - (Additional reporting by Goal South Africa).