Sundowns bag an away goal in Pretoria derby

Lebohang Maboe of Sundowns during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 football match between Supersport United and Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium. (Gavin Barker/BackpagePix)

Lebohang Maboe of Sundowns during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 football match between Supersport United and Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium. (Gavin Barker/BackpagePix)

Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United could not be separated in this season’s second installment of the Pretoria derby on Sunday afternoon at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.

The sides played to a 1-1 draw in the first-leg semifinal of the MTN8.

It was a truly entertaining affair that had all the makings of a derby and all the ingredients of an exciting match that saw the two goals in the first stanza scored a minute apart.

SuperSport opened the scoring through the on-form Thamsanqa Gabuza, who headed home from a delightful cross by Onismor Bhasera. Those goal celebrations were short-lived as Gaston Sirino leveled matters immediately when he fired from close range to beat Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Ronwen Williams a minute after Gabuza gave the hosts the lead.

There could have been a couple more goals in the first-half as both sides came agonizingly close to finding the back of the net before their openers. First it was Masandawana who were a thorn in the flesh of Matsatsantsa A Pitori’s backline. Sirino dazzled in the box and stuck the cross-bar, but United defenders were wide awake to diffuse the danger and he ended up firing a tame shot which was collected by Williams, much to the relief of SuperSport’s fans.

In the opposite end, SuperSport kept Downs goalkeeper Denis Onyango quite busy, most notably when Gabuza towered over Sundowns’ centre backs Wayne Arendse and Mosa Lebusa to connect on the header that beat the one-time African Goalkeeper of the Year but could only shave the cross-bar.

Both coaches did make changes to try tilt the match towards their favor as the likes of Lyle Lakay and Siphele Mkhulise were thrown in by Sundowns, while Kaitano Tembo introduced Aubrey Modiba, Jamie Webber and handed former Orlando Pirates winger Thabo Qalinge his debut.

In the end, the spoils were shared on the day and it is Sundowns who go into the second-leg with the away goal advantage.

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