Meza lifts Downs ahead of CAF clash

Mamelodi Sundowns' Venezuelan striker Jose Ali Meza.
Mamelodi Sundowns' Venezuelan striker Jose Ali Meza.
Image: Mamelodi Sundowns FC via Twitter

Mamelodi Sundowns were made to sweat for their narrow but important 1-0 Absa Premiership win over AmaZulu at Loftus Versfeld last night.

The all-important goal was scored by striker Ali Meza deep into injury time of the first half after he was set up by midfielder Sibusiso Vilakazi who received a long pass from Andile Jali.

With this victory, the Brazilians have narrowed the gap to seven points on runaway log leaders Kaizer Chiefs who take on Stellenbosch FC aways tonight.

Sundowns remain in second spot on 21 points on the standings, while Chiefs lead the pack on 28 with both teams having played 11 matches, although Downs will have their game in hand back after the Chiefs-Stellenbosch encounter.

For struggling AmaZulu, they remain rooted second from the bottom with 11 points from 12 matches and they face a mountain to climb to get their campaign back on track.

With three home points successfully negotiated, the Brazilians shift their attention to CAF Champions League, group stages where they host Angolan side Petro de Luanda on Saturday at Loftus.

During the early exchanges in last night's match, Sundowns were the dominant side with Jali, Rivaldo Coetzee, Vilakazi, Siphelele Mkhulise and Meza threatening AmaZulu.

The visitors also had their moments on the attack through their target man Bonginkosi Ntuli, Sphesihle Maduna and Samuel Darpoh but they did not trouble Sundowns goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene.

The first-half continued with both teams testing each and just before the break Meza saw his goal-bound shot, after he was released by Jali's defence splitting pass, saved by the alert Siyabonga Mbatha.

After a number of wasted chances, Sundowns finally opened the scoring deep into referees' optional time when Meza put the ball into an open net after he was set free by Vilakazi.

On the hour mark, another Sundowns attack resulted in Meza forcing a stunning diving save out of Niel Boshoff as the Brazilians looked for the insurance goal.

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