Mamelodi Sundowns title hopes shot down by Baroka late goal

Hold on tight because the compelling nature of this Absa Premiership title run-in promises a spectacle of thrills and spills that no one has a clue how it’s going to end.

Baroka FC’s penalty from the boot of Richard Matloga deep into referee’s injury time saw relegation threatened Limpopo side pull off a stunning 2-2 draw with Mamelodi Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday night.

Before the penalty that penalised Sundowns defender Thepelo Morena for handling in the box, the Brazilians were leading 2-1 and on top of the log with 57 points having overtaken Bidvest Wits who lost 3-1 to Free State Stars in Bethlehem on the same night.

Wits now lead Sundowns by two points with the two championship chasing sides going into the last two matches of the season where on the evidence of what happened on Wednesday night promises to be thrilling.

The advantage is firmly with Wits who need to win their remaining matches against Polokwane City at home and Kaizer Chiefs away from home on the final day of the season to be crowned champions.

For Pitso Mosimane and his men to regain the championship, they must also win their remaining matches against Maritzburg United and Highlands Park while at the same time hoping that Wits drop points.

For Baroka, they remain second from the bottom on the log with 24 points and their survival mission remains a mountain to climb in their last three matches against Golden Arrows, Highlands Park and Ajax Cape Town.

It has been made difficult by Free State Stars unexpected victory over Wits which has moved them four points from the bottom side Highlands Park with two matches remaining in their season.

Sundowns opened the scoring in the sixth minute when midfielder Khama Billiat tapped home a close range cross from fullback Thapelo Morena for his ninth goal of the season as the Brazilians got off to a dream start.

In the 22nd minute, Baroka players and the technical bench shouted for a penalty after a hard tackle by Sundowns defender Motjeka Madisha on a Baroka player in the box but referee Thando Ndzandzeka waved play on.

As the half progressed, Sundowns enjoyed the lions’s share of possession with midfielders Billiat, Themba Zwane and Percy Tau at the forefront of their attacks.

Baroka also had notable moments but they amounted to nothing.

Sundowns registered the second of the night as they benefited from a comical error by Baroka goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke who completely missed a back pass from Mzwanele Mahashe which rolled into his own net.

Mahashe made up for the earlier confusion with his ‘keeper moments later as he pulled one back for Baroka with a header from a corner kick in what proved to be the match’s last action before the break.

In the second half, both teams created chances as they tried to influence the game and it was Baroka who provided the telling moment after Ndzandzeka  pointed to the spot from where Matloga equalised