Absa Premiership

Sundowns back up to second

2015-02-24 22:02
Cuthbert Malajila (Gallo Images)

Durban - Cuthbert Malajila has scored the only goal of the game as Mamelodi Sundowns climbed back into second position on the Premiership table with a narrow 1-0 win over AmaZulu at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Tuesday.

As it happened: AmaZulu v Sundowns

Malajila's goal came after 54 minutes when the Zimbabwean found himself unmarked in the box and slotted past the stranded Aubrey Mathibe in the home goal.

The result helped the Brazilians leapfrog Bidvest Wits into second position, 10 points behind leaders Kaizer Chiefs and with a game in hand.

Usuthu, meanwhile, stayed bottom, nine points behind second last Platinum Stars.

Steve Barkers strugglers showed some good fight though, and made a confident start to the contest with Roscoe Pietersen having a shot deflected wide, while debutante Thabiso Dlamini fired straight at Denis Onyango from just outside the box.

John Arwuah was the next to have a half-chance, but he snatched at it from the edge of the penalty area and it ballooned high and over. That was in the 16th minute and from there on, Sundowns shifted gears.

Mzikayise Mashaba curled wide moments later, before some slick footwork by Teko Modise set up Khama Billiat, who's shot was curled towards the far post where Aubrey Mathibe did well to get down and save.

Kudakwashe Mahachi got close with a shot from just inside the box that went inches wide, before a big error from Thabiso Dlamini went unpunished as Billiat wastefully shot over.

The Brazilians came closest to scoring just after the half-hour when Mahachi crashed a low 25-yard effort against the base of the right upright and wide with Mathibe beaten.

And before the break, Modise lifted another chance over after another show of expert footwork as the sides went into the break level.

Usuthu started the second half like the first as a Marc van Heerden corner to the near post was struck over the bar by Goodman Dlamini, while Sadate Ouro-Akoriko headed over from a pin-point Van Heerden set-piece.

But Sundowns went ahead before the hour mark when Mahachi found Malajila in acres of space on the right and the Zimbabwean had all the time to pick his spot and fire low beyond Mathibe.

The lead was almost doubled within seconds as Billiat crossed from the left and Modise struck it powerfully onto the right upright from close-range.

AmaZulu battled hard to find any sort of opening, but in reality struggled.

They did have one with eight minutes to play when Kenyan substitute Paul Ooko tried his luck from the edge of the box, forcing Onyango to dive to his right and parry away.

In the final minute of stoppage time, Bongi Ntuli should have at least hit the target, but headed wide from a corner as Sundowns held on.


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