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Onyango howler foils Mamelodi Sundowns bid to go top

By AFP

Added 20th February 2019 07:35 AM

The Ugandan 2016 Africa-based Footballer of the Year appeared to have a glancing header from Zambian Salulani Phiri in his grasp during first-half stoppage-time.

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Denis Onyango. File Photo

The Ugandan 2016 Africa-based Footballer of the Year appeared to have a glancing header from Zambian Salulani Phiri in his grasp during first-half stoppage-time.

A blunder by star goalkeeper Denis Onyango gifted Polokwane City a 1-1 draw Tuesday and cost Mamelodi Sundowns a chance to top the South African Premiership.
 
The Ugandan 2016 Africa-based Footballer of the Year appeared to have a glancing header from Zambian Salulani Phiri in his grasp during first-half stoppage-time.
 
But 33-year-old Onyango let the ball slip from his hands and pushed it into the net with his left foot to concede an embarrassing and costly own goal at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria.
 
"These things happen in football," said sympathetic Sundowns coach and former South Africa striker Pitso Mosimane.
 
"Denis has been outstanding for us in recent domestic and African matches but, being a perfectionist, he will be really upset by the own goal."
 
Sundowns took an early lead through Themba Zwane in a match they needed to win by at least two goals to climb above leaders Bidvest Wits, who they meet in Johannesburg this Saturday.
 
Wits have 37 points from 20 matches, Sundowns 35 from 18 and Orlando Pirates 33 and Cape Town City 30 from 19 in a four-club championship chase.
 
For most of the opening half, debates among the crowd would have centred on how many goals Premiership trophy-holders Sundowns were going to win by. 
 
The 2016 African champions dominated possession and territory and created numerous chances with Uruguayan playmaker Gaston Sirino at the heart of many intricate movements.
 
After looking ripe for a pummeling, a Polokwane side with just one win from their last six matches in all competitions improved dramatically during the second half.
 
Although lacking star striker Rodney Ramagalela -- suspended by the club for signing a pre-contract with another Premiership side -- the visitors threatened on the counter-attack.
 
Mosimane rang the changes near the end, including introducing veteran Liberian attacker Anthony Laffor, but City rarely looked like falling behind a second time.
 
"A draw was a good result for us," said Slovakian Polokwane coach Jozef Vukusic. "Our defending was particularly impressive."
 
Polokwane remained eighth, nine points behind Wits with a game in hand, after stretching to four seasons an unbeaten away record against Sundowns.

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