Usuthu end Sundowns’ year-long unbeaten league run

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PRETORIA, January 29 – Mamelodi Sundowns blew the chance to draw level on points with Bidvest Wits at the top of the league standings with a 2-0 home defeat to AmaZulu at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Tuesday night.

It was a first defeat of the season for the Brazilians in the league and the first time they have lost in the Premiership since going down to Orlando Pirates on January 13, 2018.

An own goal from Tebogo Langerman 10 minutes before the break and a header from Ovidy Karuru midway through the second stanza was the difference on the night.

Sundowns had dominated the early stages of the game and it was the Pretoria side who had all the chances as Lebohang Maboe headed over from a third minute cross, before the same player drew a smart save from visiting keeper Siyabonga Mbatha in the 25th minute, and then Gaston Sirino fired narrowly over the crossbar six minutes later.

As such it was against the run of play that Usuthu took the lead, which arrived in the 35th minute courtesy of an own goal by Langerman as he attempted to clear a cross from Jabulani Ncobeni.

Mbatha has been in outstanding form of late and he was to come to AmaZulu’s rescue with two fantastic saves late in the first half, first from Hlompho Kekana and then Sirino.

AmaZulu found themselves under pressure after the restart as Sundowns came out looking for the equaliser, but it was Downs keeper Denis Onyango who was called in to action first as he got down smartly to keep out an Karuru effort.

Karuru, however, was to get the better of Onyango not long afterwards as he rose well in the box to power in a 66th minute header from a corner.

The home side threw bodies forward in the final 20 minutes as they tried to find a way back in to the game. But some resolute defending meant Mbatha remained largely untested as the Durban team made it through comfortably to the final whistle to secure maximum points.

Masandawana remain three points behind Wits but with two games still in hand, while for AmaZulu, it was a first win in four league outings. (ANA)