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Mamelodi Sundowns v Maritzburg United Match Report, 05/05/2021

FT
2 - 0
MLS
MAR
Ricardo Nascimento (39 pen)
G. Motupa (71)
Loftus Versfeld Stadium
Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 Maritzburg United: Motupa infuence helps Masandawana extend lead
15:57 IST 05/05/2021
Gift Motupa, Clayton Daniels, Mamelodi Sundowns vs Maritzburg United, May 2021
The Tshwane giants appear to have rediscovered their form with victory against the KZN club

Gift Motupa earned Mamelodi Sundowns a penalty and scored as the Brazilians defied an early loss of Themba Zwane due to injury and opened a four-point gap at the top of the Premier Soccer League standings following a 2-0 victory over Maritzburg United at Loftus Versfeld on Wednesday.

Ricardo Nascimento thrust Sundowns ahead in six minutes before half-time via a penalty, before the former Orlando Pirates man took the responsibility to double his side’s advantage in the 71st minute.

It was a result that helped Sundowns stay on course for a fourth successive PSL title as they are now four points clear at the top of the table, having played a game less than second-placed AmaZulu.

Maritzburg remained in position 12 with just a point above the relegation zone.  

In his only second league start for Sundowns and sixth appearance, Motupa scored his first-ever goal in Brazilians colours as the Tshwane side is firing again after a difficult run in recent outings. 

Gaston Sirino, Lebohang Maboe and Kermit Erasmus were ruled out of Wednesday's game due to injury. 

Sundowns thought they had taken a lead through Mosa Lebusa five minutes into the match but the defender’s goal was disallowed after being scored from an offside position.

The Masandawana coaches were forced to make an injury-inspired substitution in the 11th minute when Zwane went out limping, clutching his hamstring and Promise Mkhuma came on for the Bafana Bafana star.

The visitors’ first chance at goal came 15 minutes into the contest when Dusan Stevic forced Denios Onyango to dive and save the Serb’s low drive. 

Shortly after, Peter Shalulile was twice denied by the woodwork within a minute; first beating Maritzburg goalkeeper Marcel Engelhardt but only to witness his shot hitting the upright post and Mkhuma took long to shoot from the rebound, allowing Maritzburg defender to close in.

Seconds later, Shalulile rose high to head in a corner kick and Engelhardt tipped it onto the crossbar. 

Maritzburg then nearly went ahead on 22 minutes when Bongokuhle Hlongwane chipped over Onyango but agonizingly watched his effort go over the bar with. 

Hlongwane was back again 10 minutes before halftime but had his headed effort narrowly missing the target off a Thabiso Kutumela cross. 

Motupa then earned Masandawana a penalty when he was tripped inside the box by Clayton Daniels. 

Up-stepped Nascimento who beat Engelhardt to separate the two sides and it was another Brazilians goal from the spot, for the second game running.  

On the other end, Hlongwane continued to shake the Sundowns defence and this time saw his curler going just inches away from Onyango’s goal. 

Nascimento almost grabbed a brace five minutes into the second half but his attempt with his head went just wide off a corner kick and two minutes later, the Brazilian defender again headed a Modiba corner-kick delivery but Engelhardt was alert to make a save. 

Injury struck Sundowns again when Sphelele Mkhulise was stretchered off the pitch just after the hour mark and replaced by Mothobi Mvala. 

Mvala then made an immediate impact, setting up Motupa to fire in a hard and low which gave Engelhardt no chance and grabbed his 44th PSL goal.

Since then, there was liitle chance for the visitors to launch a comeback as Sundowns protected their lead.