Affonso gives Sundowns controversial South Africa League Cup title
Durban (South Africa) (AFP) – Uruguayan Mauricio Affonso scored twice to give Mamelodi Sundowns a 2-1 victory over Maritzburg United Saturday in a South African League Cup final that ended controversially.
Outsiders Maritzburg were denied a stoppage-time equaliser when an assistant referee ruled a headed goal from Judas Moseamedi offside.
But big-screen replays showed Moseamedi being marginally onside as he nodded the ball past Sundowns’ Ugandan goalkeeper Denis Onyango.
“I thought it was a goal,” admitted Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane while Maritzburg boss Eric Tinkler gave a terse “no comment” when asked for his opinion.
The silence of Tinkler was undoubtedly influenced by the Premier Soccer League regularly fining coaches heavily for publicly criticising referees.
However, the former South African star could face disciplinary action as he walked to the centre circle after the match and gave the match officials a tongue lashing.
Moseamedi put Maritzburg ahead on 39 minutes at Moses Mabhida Stadium and the 1.93-metre Affonso equalised after 54 minutes and scored the match-winning goal 20 minutes later.
The stoppage-time drama overshadowed the performance of official man of the match Affonso, a mid-2019 recruit by the Pretoria club from Peruvian side Alianza Lima.
His final brace meant nine of the 11 goals Sundowns scored to win the League Cup for the first time since 2015 were scored by South Americans.
– Aerial ability –
Fellow Uruguayan Gaston Sirino notched five goals, Affonso three and Venezuelan Jose Ali Meza one with the others coming from captain Hlompho Kekana and an own-goal.
Affonso is an ‘old school’ centre-forward, who thrives on his aerial ability and was bought by Mosimane to give Sundowns more attacking options.
“We signed Mauricio to score from free-kicks, corners and crosses,” said the coach. “He is not a ball player, like many of our players, but can be deadly when given the right service.”
Maritzburg reached the final by defeating runaway league leaders Kaizer Chiefs and another shock seemed on the cards when they took the lead on a warm, windy night in the eastern city.
A goal-kick by Maritzburg captain and Ghana goalkeeper Richard Ofori landed just outside the Sundowns box and Moseamedi punished hesitation by Mosa Lebusa to poke the ball into the net.
The equaliser was a Uruguayan affair with Affonso heading a Sirino cross past slow-reacting Ofori into the net.
Sirino was also involved in the decisive goal, curling a corner into the heart of the goalmouth, where Affonso used the side of his head to score.