Mamelodi Sundowns were left frustrated by a determined Maritzburg United in Pretoria on Friday, as both teams ended their Premiership opener with a single point and goal
Katlego Mashego got the defending champions off to the perfect start with less than 90 seconds on the clock, but a late penalty from Mohammed Awal pulled the scores level after a lackluster 90 minutes.
Sundowns boss Pitso Mosimane rang the changes, including Mame Niang from the start, while Mashego accompanied him at the head of the Brazilians’ attack.
Niang repaid his manager’s faith within seconds of the opening whistle and was integral in the opening goal.
Niang’s delicate header from an Elias Pelembe cross allowed Mashego to slot home the opener when it looked harder to miss.
Mashego opened his account and looked lively up front, as Sundowns pushed for a second.
Hlompho Kekana, another new face to the line-up, having missed Sundowns last game, was causing plenty of headaches in the middle of the park and continued to apply pressure with his educated right boot.
Leading at the break, Sundowns took their foot off the pedal in the second period and had little to write home about.
Maritzburg, meanwhile, had even less to enjoy and failed to test any of the Sundowns back row, while goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands was a mere spectator.
But with less than five minutes to play, Niang went from hero to zero, fouling a Maritzburg attacker in the area, forcing referee Victor Gomes to point to the spot.
Awal stepped up confidently, slotting home the equaliser, to bring to an end a difficult first outing for Sundowns.