Cape Town - Maritzburg United's unbeaten start to the Premiership season came to an end as they suffered a 2-0 defeat to Kaizer Chiefs at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday night.
There was a real buzz at the kick-off in front of a capacity crowd in Pietermaritzburg and the two teams did not disappoint by delivering a lively start.
Gustavo Paez forced home goalkeeper Richard Ofori into a diving stop in the sixth minute from a long-range strike, before debutant Yazid Atouba's deflected free-kick had to be unorthodoxly punched off the line by Itumeleng Khune.
Amakhosi then went ahead when Siphiwe Tshabalala's lovely dinked pass released Bhongolwethu Jayiya, whose shot was only half-saved by Ofori, with the loose ball falling into the path of Paez to apply a simple finish.
Just after the half-hour Atouba unleashed a 30-yard rocket that had to be turned around the post by the alert Khune.
However, the Bafana Bafana number one then made a huge blunder by spilling a Evans Rusike free-kick, only to be rescued by his defence as the ball was cleared.
Khune had to make another big save before the break when Deolin Mekoa's long-range effort skidded off the surface and was only parried, this time the trailing Maritzburg players were too slow to react as the home pressure continued.
There was even time for one more block by the Chiefs keeper before the interval, with Rusike shooting low and he ball held this time.
Maritzburg kept up the pressure after the break, but it was Tshabalala who almost netted at the other end after breaking down the left and skipping past two players before being stopped by Ofori.
Atouba then volleyed wide on 55 minutes with the Chiefs defence all over the place. But it was the Soweto giants who snatched the telling goal against the run of play.
Ofori was left fuming after Jayiya's shot was not closed down and had to be tipped over, and from the resulting corner Paez saw his deflected strike wrong-foot the big Ghanaian.
United had a golden chance to set up a frantic finish when Lorenzo Gordinho was adjudged to have handled in the box, but Rusike's penalty was saved low by Khune.