Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies striker Melinda Kgadiete turned in a fine performance against the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Ladies in the Hollywoodbets Super League, netting a brace as the continental champions claimed a hard-fought 3-1 victory at the Absa Tuks Stadium.
It marked a perfect afternoon for the recently crowned Women’s Africa Cup of Nations winner who also clinched the Woman of the Match award.
Coach Jerry ‘Kappa’ Tshabalala started with a strong attacking line-up with Andisiwe Mgcoyi, Boitumelo Rabale, Melinda Kgadiete and Rhoda Mulaudzi all starting against the Ladies from UJ.
After a slow start in the opening minutes, Mgcoyi showed her confidence from close range to score the game’s opening goal. The strike was her 10th of the season.
UJ Ladies responded with several attacking threats of their own and were eventually rewarded courtesy of a Sphumelele Shamase header from a well-taken free kick to level the scoreline before the break.
In the second half, Sundowns Ladies stepped up their momentum and were duly rewarded thanks to a fine back heel from Andisiwe to set up Kgadiete who converted from close range.
Kappa then looked to the bench for more reinforcements with Thalea Smidt, Lerato Kgasago and Lelona Daweti replacing Boitumelo Rabale, Oratile Mokwena and Andisiwe Mgcoyi respectively.
With time running out, Chuene Morifi showed her class from the flanks with an inch-perfect cross that was tucked in by Melinda for her brace. The goal was Kgadiete’s third of the campaign.
Brace-hero Melinda praised her team for showing their resilience against one of the grittiest opponents in the league.
“Games against University of Johannesburg Ladies are always tough encounters and this was no exception. Due to their strong organization, they are very fearless without the ball. Despite their strengths, we found our grove thanks to the resilience of our team. Scoring the goals makes me happy, but winning the game is the more important,” Melinda stated.
Sundowns Ladies now head to the COSAFA Women’s Champions League 2022 zonal qualifier to be held in Durban from August 7-13, 2022. The current treble-winners have been drawn in Group A and will face debutants Costa Do Sol of Mozambique and last season’s semifinalists’ Double Action Ladies from Botswana in a mouth-watering line-up.
Goalkeeper Andile ‘Sticks’ Dlamini believes no side should be taken for granted, “We are up against teams that are seeking to etch their names into the record books as well. At Mamelodi Sundowns, we stick to our game plan and pay close attention to the Technical Team. We are confident of our chances in Durban and our aim is to win.”
Last season, Banyana Ba Style scored an incredible 22 goals across five games in the COSAFA CAF Women’s Champions League qualifiers and conceded just once. Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies will be looking to extend their continental dominance into a second year as they go head-to-head against some of the finest teams on the continent.