Downs Close Gap At The Top

Mamelodi Sundowns closed the gap at the top of the Absa Premiership table to within three points on Saturday afternoon following a 2-1 victory away to Baroka FC, with goals coming from Ricardo Nascimento and Themba Zwane in either half.

The Brazilians bounced back from their midweek defeat against crosstown rivals SuperSport United at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

Coach Pitso Mosimane made several changes to the line-up, although goalkeeper Denis Onyango was still missing as he recovers from a lower back injury suffered in the return leg against Al Ahly in the CAF Champions League quarter-final clash played in Alexandria, Egypt, a weekend ago.

But both Thapelo Morena and leading goal scorer Lebohang Maboe returned to face Baroka – boosting the side in a crucial encounter. Phakamani Mahlambi, Emiliano Tade and Lyle Lakay dropped to the bench.

Within nine minutes Sundowns could have broken the deadlock through Sibusiso Vilakazi, who has now fully recovered from a long-term injury and looking to help the side retain the title. Maboe squared the ball across for the running Vilakazi, but the attacker just missed the target by inches.

The two linked up again after the half-hour mark and Vilakazi was fouled in the box, leaving referee Victor Hlungwani no choice but to award the penalty.

Nascimento stepped up and made no mistake as he coolly slotted the ball home past Baroka goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze.

The home side were knocking a few times, but with only tame efforts that did not threaten keeper Kennedy Mweene. But it was the Zambian shot stopper’s mistake that allowed them back in with a goal kick that didn’t quite go according to script. Mweene, in the 52nd minute, couldn’t find left back Tebogo Langerman and instead the ball fell onto the path of Bonginkosi Makume and his attempt at goal was helped on its way into the back of the net by striker Onkabetse Makgantai for Baroka’s equaliser.

Downs did respond almost immediately when Zwane bagged the winning goal. Maboe was again in the thick of things and turned provider for ‘Mshishi’ in the eight-yard box for an easy finish. Baroka did go a man down when Rodwell Chinyengetere was shown his marching orders for a terrible stamp of captain Hlompo Kekana, who had to be replaced by Oupa Manyisa.

The win took Sundowns within three points of log leaders Orlando Pirates, but the Brazilians still have a game in hand. Downs will host Chippa United on Tuesday at Loftus as the championship chase continue.

Mosimane said he knew Baroka would be tough to break down, but his men found their rhythm to get over the line.

“We didn’t have that rhythm against SuperSport United. To be honest we dominated from the beginning. But I was afraid that by missing chances it would come back to haunt us. We played with confidence,” he said after the match.

Sundowns: Mweene, Ngcongca, Lebusa, Nascimento, Langerman, Mabunda (Coetzee 71′), Kekana (Manyisa 83′), Vilakazi, Zwane, Morena, Maboe.

17 Responses
  1. William Dinko

    Kennedy needs to up his game cause all the goals that he conciderred, he doesn’t even make an effort to jump or move … otherwise we not going to renew his contract we want young goalie to come and replace him his old…

  2. Shando

    At times we why away from criticism for.not wanting to demoralise players but you must concur that Kennedy MWeene has caused us points this season of you look at his performances.

    I understand why the coach is supporting him but at this point it is blatantly clear that the guy is struggling and not only at Sundowns but look at his performances in the previous games for Zambia. He is error prone and never attempts any ball that seems to be far but goes for those that are directly shot to him. Why else do we need a goalkeeper if you can’t attempt a dive from a simple header we conceded against SSU. Perhaps let’s give other keepers an opportunity going into out last games.

  3. Chancy Gondwe

    I still believe if Thela is given a chance. He can do better he is the only one I see taking over from Africa’s No 1. I still remember Thela denied Mpanzis a NEDBANk last season. If coach Pitso only have believe n faith on him. Kennedy have run his race. Reyaard need to gain his confidence back. So just put Ngobeni between the sticks coach you will be rewarded. With a man of the match performance.

  4. Boh

    I agree with u,Chancy plz Pisto give Thela Ngobeni a chance,I know how it feels when u are not given a chance even when you’re fellow team mate is making blunders..course if he’s doing well,you have to accept that,worst of them all they go on and buy a person who is always at the STANDS,and play him before u.Team’s come for you but refused to go.but won’t play u.what is going on.are killing this boy career or what.Ndlovu is coming here what will happening to him…Anyway CHIPPA has two of their regular defense out with yellow card..we should take advantage..EARLY!!! And rest players you know our story as our coach PISTO will say..good luck boys..

  5. Mfana

    Pitso will no longer field Ngobeni for any part this season&I have a firm beliet that the boy is heading to the exit.Mweene&Riyaard Pieterse hav bn hiven enough chances&they hav shown that they r as not good as Ngobeni at all.Its clear that Ngobeni was put deliberately as the fourth goalkeeper on purpose just to frustrate him.He had a splendid performance for Free State Stars last season the question why hasnt been given a chance by the technical team as all the goalkeepers were playing second feedle to their counterparts except Onyango.We saw the schoolboy errors from Pieterse but was given another chance&he blew it.Ngobeni shuold hav been sold or loaned out as no one was prepared to hav a look at.Sometimes being selected on merit is neither here nor there but remove&let go of a player if u r not prepared to select,because a player will leave with a lot of resentment&say a lot of negative stories about the technical team.But in this regard Ngobeni shuold hav bn given a fair chance like his fellow goalkeepers.

  6. Chancy Gondwe

    Members if Thela was loaned out last season and helped FSS to win trophy after so many years. Then our technical team call him back but still not given a chance is questionable sometimes. What else does he have to do prove his worth. Truely speaking I support or technical team but I suspect something at Downs. I watched Downs games from day one up to this day. We lost some of important games due to our goalkeepers blunder. We moved on and accepted a defeat even though it hard to swallow sometimes. Even Denis Onyango make big blunders n sometimes; Reyaard and Kennedy are the worst keepers we had after Sandiland but they got enough chance to cause us stress n to much heart beat. Thela have been with Downs for coupler years now but I can’t remember him given a chance to show that he is worse or better than other keepers. As me for me my assessment from what I saw when loaned out and played in a high tempo and pressure games he passed with distinction. He showed his quality no matter it was for FSS. Remember the same Mweene came from Stars also but never won a silver ware with them but we believed in him. Correct me if I’m wrong members.

  7. Bango

    It is well! An opportunity will come for Mr Ngobeni, He will have to make sure his faithfuls are left very happy. Changing goalkeepers now is ok but if Ngobeni meet with our unfortunate day like of SS United people will cry again . The competition is tougher now and to give him such a pressure may make him not feel good. His chance is coming at the right time. it is good he has not been given his chance yet, the day day he gets his chance he must make it a point that he has arrived to stay between the sticks.

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