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Sundowns irked by referee Victor Gomes during Maritzburg win

Despite Mamelodi Sundowns beating Maritzburg United 2-1 on Tuesday night, to return to the top of the Absa Premiership log, referee Victor Gomes drew the victors' ire.

Gomes was name-checked by Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane and man-of-the-match Denis Onyango during their post-match interviews with SuperSport TV; their respective frustrations being the sending off of Gaston Sirino and the award of United's goal.

"I told Gaston [Sirino] before the match, I said 'be very careful' because he [Victor Gomes] once told me that Gaston is reactional. Gaston is emotional, so is Gomes. So those two together, something is going to give way and whoever has the authority will defeat the other one," Mosimane told interviewer Phumlani Msibi.

Records confirm that Gomes yellow-carded Sirino the previous time he officiated a Sundowns match, in the January league clash between these selfsame teams. On Tuesday the Uruguayan assisted Lebohang Maboe for Sundowns' second goal before then 'earning' a double-booking from Gomes in the 62nd minute - firstly for a foul and then for angrily back-chatting the referee.

"I spoke to him [Gomes], he was too quick. Speak to him [Sirino]. Either delay or whatever. If he was swearing of course he must take him out. But he didn’t swear, I know that. Gaston is emotional, we know that, but the referee is also emotional. Emotional intelligence was needed on the referee. I think he could’ve warned him," concluded Mosimane.

Onyango, meanwhile, believed he was fouled during the goalmouth scramble which lead to Fortune Makaringe bundling the ball over the line for United's consolation goal.

"In my opinion, when I go up I make sure I’m going to catch the ball, but when I’m fouled and the ref says I need to hold on to the ball I can’t do anything more,’ the Ugandan said.

"Because I’m also human, because when I go up I also lose balance, and they made contact with me and I eventually lost the ball. So I’m not sure if it was the right decision, but in my case I think it was a foul."

Onyango then revealed what Gomes told him while he was remonstrating with the referee following the award of the 83rd-minute goal, which gave 'The Team of Choice' hope of completing a unexpected comeback.

"He said I must hold on to the ball rather than complain for a foul because I went up, and he believes that I’m a big man, and when I go up I must hold on to the ball, but when I lose balance in the air after the contact I can’t hold on to the ball. But it’s one of those where these things happen," Onyango conceded.