Maritzburg shock Sundowns
Cuthbert Malajila (Gallo)
Johannesburg - Cuthbert Malajila struck in the dying stages to hand Maritzburg United a shock 1-0 victory over Premiership title chasers Mamelodi Sundowns in Port Elizabeth on Saturday evening.
Sundowns had been one point behind league leaders Orlando Pirates ahead of the weekend fixtures, but the Buccaneers retained their advantage as the Brazilians suffered their second straight league defeat with four games left in the campaign.
Fresh off a midweek 1-0 win over Kaizer Chiefs, Maritzburg were looking to add Sundowns' scalp to their giant-killing exploits.
The visitors, meanwhile, were looking to put their title challenge back on track after a 2-1 defeat at home to Platinum Stars.
Mor Diouf was involved in an early attempt on goal for the hosts in the eighth minute but he saw his long-range effort sail wide.
On the 16-minute mark, Nyasha Mushekwi came close for Sundowns, but his first-time shot from close range was directed wide.
After half an hour, Sundowns found their rhythm, creating fast interplay, with quick passing and assaults on the Maritzburg goal.
The visitors were then awarded a free kick in a dangerous position.
The shot was deflected off the wall and left Clayton Daniels in prime position to bury the opener, but his strike was saved by Shu-aib Walters in the Maritzburg goal.
In first-half injury time, Diouf was again close to scoring, but his shot was cleared from close to the line by a Sundowns defender.
Maritzburg needed a full-length diving save from Walters, eight minutes after the break, to deny an Esrom Nyandoro effort from the edge of the area.
A Maritzburg attack with 15 minutes left had Downs caught out, and the ball was laid back for Diyo Sibisi with just Sundowns keeper Calvin Marlin to beat, but he lofted his effort into the crowd.
The intervention of Malajila, however, eventually won the game for Maritzburg.
After a quick attack down the middle, Malajila made a run down the right, and received a pin-point pass before netting a stunning strike in the 81st minute to seal the upset victory.