Laffor leads Downs to win over Maritzburg

A brace from Anthony Laffor led Mamelodi Sundowns to a 2-1 win over Maritzburg United in an Absa Premiership encounter at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday evening.

Kurt Lentjies pulled a goal back for the hosts with five minutes remaining, but the Brazilians held to stretch their unbeaten record in the league to 12 matches.

Steve Komphela made two changes to the side that played to a 1-1 draw against AmaZulu with the alterations coming in midfield and attack. Thamsanqa Mkhize replaced Nhlanhla Mkhize while Mohau Mokate filled in for Terrance Mandaza who dropped to the bench.

Pitso Mosimane meanwhile made four changes to the side that were held at AmaTuks on the weekend with Mario Booysen, Anthony Laffor, Lindokuhle Mbatha and Tebogo Langerman returning to the starting eleven.

Khama Billiat, who had entered the game as the clubs form player missed a glaring goal with five minutes on the clock. The Zimbabwean beat the Maritzburg offside trap, but was unable to hit the target from close range.

The hosts' first shot in anger fell to Khumbulani Banda in the 36th minute. The Maritzburg fullback shook off Mbatha before drilling a low effort straight at Kennedy Mweene from a tight angle.

Neither team succeeded in their attempts to find the back of the net before the interval with both teams lacking creativity in a first half which didn’t lack commitment, but quality in the final third.

Sundowns found the opener through Laffor five minutes into the second stanza. A misunderstanding between Virgil Vries and Kwanda Mngonyama let in the Liberian who rounded the Team of Choice keeper before passing the ball into the back of the net, an early Christmas present for the former SuperSport United man.

Laffor completed his brace in the 63rd minute. A swift attacking move ended with Cuthbert Malajila setting Laffor trough on goal, the ‘Downs attacker making no mistake to double the visitors' lead.

‘Downs pushed forward in the final 15 minutes with Ashley Hartog forcing Mweene into a good save before second-half substitute Lentjies pulled one back for the hosts in the 85th minute.

Mondli Cele set-up the Team of Choice midfielder on the edge of the area, who in-turn drilled a grass cutter into the back of the net via the inside of the post.

Sundowns survived a nervy end to the game as Maritzburg suffered only their second home loss of the season.

The win moves the Brazilians up to second place on the Absa Premiership log while Martizburg remain in sixth.

Maritzburg United: (0) 1 (Lentjies 85’)

Mamelodi Sundowns: (0) 2 (Laffor 50’ 63’)

Maritzburg United: Vries; Mabaso, Banda, Paintsil, Awal (Mekoa 57’), Mngonyama, Hartog, Sekotlong (Lentjies 74’), Cele, Mkhize, Mokate (Mandaza 69’)

Mamelodi Sundowns: Mweene; Langerman, Nthethe, Booysen, Mphahlele, Zungu, Modise, Mbatha (Zwane 58’), Laffor (Moriri 80’), Billiat (Niang 83’), Malajila