Mamelodi Sundowns came away 1-0 winners on their visit to the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium against Lamontville Golden Arrows to continue with their unbeaten record in the DStv Premiership.
There was a brief early scare for Masandawana in the opening minutes of the match with Arrows building up from the back looking for Mutizwa to finish off in the box, but goalkeeper Denis Onyango was on his toes and quick out of the box to scoop the ball.
Abafana Bes’thende were always going to put together a tough challenge for The Brazilians, with the two teams meeting for the third time this season, a thrilling encounter was anticipated. Arrows were on top for periods in the first half and even had another opportunity at goal following some combination play from Velemseni Ndwandwe and Mthokozisi Dube in attack, who were unfortunate to find the target.
The missed opportunities gave Bafana Ba Style the chance to grow into the game as they continued to cycle the ball wide and provide crosses upfront to Peter Shalulile, Gaston Sirino and Thabiso Kutumela.
Masandawana’s Sibusiso Vilakazi had the best chance with a cross in the box from Khuliso Mudau when some slack defensive work gifted him the opportunity at goal, Vila was surrounded by the host’s defenders and brought down, however no penalty was awarded and Masandawana continued looking for a solution. Arrows were starting to increase the tempo by the last 10 minutes of the first half, however both teams went into the break without any goals on their side.
After the half-time break, Downs started to push for an opening goal by starting to build some momentum with Andile Jali and Vilakazi beginning to find spaces in the opposition’s box. The game then burst into life for the champions as Vila’s back heel pass to Vila who perfectly spotted Gaston Sirino who put the ball at the back of the net, passing Arows goalie Maximilian Mbaeva’s sight.
The Durban-based team continued putting heavy pressure on Downs’ defense and eventually earned a penalty. Michael Gumede stepped up to the penalty spot against the Ugandan international goalie as Arrows looked to find an equalizer, but the 28-year old struck the ball wide off target. The visitors enjoyed a long spell of possession and kept most of the ball possession in the last few minutes of the heated encounter.
Brazilian-born Ricardo Nascimento made his first appearance in the match as Haashim Domingo made his way off the field after a spectacular performance. Thapelo Morena, Sphelele Mkhulise who returned from injury also made their contribution coming off the bench together with Neo Maema.
This is how we lined up: D. Onyango ©, K. Mudau (88′ Morena), B. Onyango, M. Lebusa, A. Modiba, A. Jali, H. Domingo (88′ Nascimento), T. Kutumela, G. Sirino (82′ Maema), S. Vilakazi (67′ Mkhulise), P. Shalulile.
Subs: R. Goss, P. Safranko, L. Lakay, R. Nascimento, S. Mkhulise, G. Maluleka, N. Maema, L. Kapinga, T. Morena