Mamelodi Sundowns produced an excellent team display to beat Golden Arrows 3-0 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium to secure a spot in the Wafa Wafa Cup final next month. Masandawana came into this game off the back of three successive wins in the league, and with confidence immediately stamped their authority on the game.
Downs forward Thabiso Kutumela was fired up and made his presence felt as soon as the whistle was blown by unsettling the visitors with his runs all over the park. It did not take long for the reigning Champions to lead the way, Reyaad Pieterse perfectly spotted Peter Shalulile upfront who combined with Kutumela to penetrate through Arrows’ defence. It was Kutumela’s attempt at goal that slipped from Abafana Bes’thende goalie Sifiso Mlungwana that led to Shalulile’s goal that handed Masandawana the lead in the thrilling encounter.
Both teams served early warnings of their attacking quality as Velemseni Ndwandwe traded attempts on goal immediately as a response to Sundowns’ goal, but Pieterse, who had his first start of the season in this game, swiftly brushed aside the goal attempt.
Moments of wonderful attacking football continued pouring in from Masandawana’s attackers, Slovakian striker Pavol Safranko had his moment with a brilliant header as he looked to score his second goal for Bafana Ba Style, however he was unfortunate as Mlungwana was full on duty. Downs doubled their lead just before the half hour mark when an accurate free kick by Kutumela was met by Divine Lunga in the box to ensure that Downs maintained their authority over Arrows. Lunga made his debut for the Yellow Nation in tonight’s encounter against his former mates and proved to be an asset with his excellent form on the wing.
In the middle of the park, Andile Jali showed his leadership skills as the captain of the home side, consistently winning the ball back within seconds of losing it thanks to the team’s high press, as he put in a display that earned him his second man of the match award in as many games.
Downs came out in the second half with their 2-0 lead and never looked back as the technical team sought to freshen their side up by introducing Gaston Sirino, Neo Maema, Aubrey Modiba and Sphelele Mkhulise in the second half of the encounter. Shalulile and Kutumela were roaming and proving a menace to their visitors before making their way off the field.
Golden Arrows struggled to craft clear-cut chances, despite testing Pieterse whose performance was top notch before sustaining an injury that forced him to be taken off the field when he collided with Nkosinathi Sibisi of Arrows. Ricardo Goss stepped up to the plate to take over from Pieterse’s duties after the goalkeeper was unfortunate to suffer an injury in the closing stages.
Masandawana remained a threat despite the changes that were made in the second half and continued with their exquisite performance. In additional time Maema’s well executed goal in the final moments of the match was enough to send a bold statement to anyone on the opposing side who might have doubted Downs chances of lifting the domestic trophy.
A spectacular finish by Mamelodi Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium earned the Champions a spot in the MTN8 Cup competition, winning the game by 3-0 against Golden Arrows.