Goals from new signing Kekana and Peter Shalulile ensured that Mamelodi Sundowns returned to PSL action in excellent fashion as they defeated Kaizer Chiefs 2-0 in their first game after the September international break.
With the sun blazing in Pretoria, Masandawana came flying out and determined to make an instant impact. Full back Lyle Lakay delivered a wonderful free kick straight to the far post to meet Grant Kekana who was well positioned to head the ball past Kaizer Chiefs’ goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma, granting Kekana his first goal of the season for his new club. Kekana’s goal was exactly what The Brazilians needed after being tested by a tricky Chiefs side in the opening stages.
Amakhosi were fully determined to spoil the party at Loftus Versfeld, Keagan Dolly’s cross towards the goal was met by his teammate Samir Nurkovic whose shot came close to goal and posed a great threat for the hosts, however, Downs’ goalie Denis Onyango was ready for the test.
A goalscoring opportunity followed for Masandawana, this time striker Peter Shalulile combined with Themba Zwane who came face to face with Chiefs’ goalkeeper in the area, however Zwane was unfortunate as he slipped and lost possession. The visitors looked to go the other way on the counter-attack, as they charged towards Onyango in goal, Dolly’s strike outside the box went just wide of the goal.
A great display of football ensued as both teams tried penetrating each other’s defences, while Bafana Ba Style looked for a second goal before the half time, opponents Chiefs worked over time to find an equalizer. Amakhosi finally got their chance to level matters in the last minute before the break with Khama Billiat’s backheel pass to Nurkovic unsuccessfully capitalized.
Masandawana made changes early in the second half with a double substitution of Thabiso Kutumela and Neo Maema replacing Kermit Erasmus and Gaston Sirino. It did not take long for the substitutions to pay off as Maema squeezed the ball between Chiefs’ defenders into the box to Peter Shalulile who added a sublime second goal for Downs. The Namibian scored his first goal of the season for Masandawana and Maema provided his first assist for his new team.
Pavol Safranko was next be be given a chance off the bench and Bafana Ba Style looked to control the game towards the end of the second half, settling into more of a rhythm.
Andile Jali and Rivaldo Coetzee largely restricted Amakhosi’s movements in the middle of the, defending their box effectively and shielding the attacks launched by the Soweto giants.
Coetzee’s handball in the box threatened Masandawna’s clean sheet as the referee awarded a penalty to Chiefs. The relief inside the ground was palpable when Lebohang Manyama’s penalty shot hit the crossbar and Downs retained the lead.
The victory pushes Downs up to first place in the table after three matches in the DStv premiership.
This is how we lined up: D. Onyango, L. Lakay, R. De Reuck, R. Coetzee, G. Kekana, T. Morena, A. Jali, T. Zwane (67’ P. Safranko), G. Sirino (58’ T. Kutumela), K. Erasmus (58’ N. Maema), (83’ H. Domingo) P. Shalulile.
Subs: N. Maema, S. Mkhulise, H. Domingo, B. Onyango, T. Kutumela, A. Modiba, N. Maema, P. Safranko, S. Vilakazi.