Melinda Kgadiete was the hero of the day as her late strike secured a 3-2 victory against JVW FC in a thrilling Hollywoodbets Super League clash at the UJ Soweto Stadium on Saturday evening.
The game also witnessed Boitumelo Rabale continuing her remarkable start to the season by scoring a stunning brace, helping Banyana Ba Style prevail in the fierce encounter.
The fixture started off quickly with both teams seeking to establish their dominance early on. However, it was the hosts who struck first blood in the 31st minute through Amanda Mthandi.
After five minutes, Sundowns Ladies found their equalizer through Boitumelo Rabale, thanks to some fine teamwork. Karabo Dhlamini came close to scoring shortly after, but her effort was stopped by the opposing goalkeeper, and both teams went into the halftime break level.
Both sides emerged for the second half with renewed vigor and hunger. Just eight minutes after the restart, Rabale scored her second goal of the game, putting the Brazilians ahead 2-1.
With time running out, the Brazilians suffered a double injury blow as Lelona Daweti and Boitumelo Rabale were stretchered off the pitch in quick succession after sustaining injuries. This meant Sundowns Ladies finished the game with 10 players having used up all their substitutes.
The Blue Diamonds duly capitalized on the advantage and equalized through an own goal from Tiisetso Makhubela with just four minutes remaining on the clock.
Nevertheless, a last-gasp goal from Melinda Kgadiete secured the maximum points for the reigning champions, with Makhubela delivering a masterful defensive performance in the dying minutes of the game, despite scoring an own goal just minutes earlier.
After the game, Kgadiete emphasized the significance of clinching all three points against one of their title rivals.
“It was a very tough game because JVW is one of the teams competing for the league title. We deserved the win because we never took our foot off the pedal, even when we lost two of our strikers to injuries with just five minutes left on the clock. However, we kept pushing and never gave up. I am so proud of my teammates for such a wonderful performance,” Kgadiete stated.
Lehlogonolo Mashigo also commended the mental strength of the team following the come-from-behind victory, “The game was far from easy, but we fought as a team and gave our best. Even after conceding the first goal, we never lost our composure and continued to play with determination, which allowed us to showcase our abilities in the latter stages of the game. I am optimistic that we can carry this momentum forward and continue to perform at this level.”
Sedilame Bosija remained upbeat and cheerful despite not keeping a clean sheet, “The final scoreline showed that it was not an easy game. There were moments during the match where I felt I could have performed better, but securing the win has made me feel much better.”
After securing their eighth win of the season, Sundowns Ladies ensured that they remained at the top of the table with 25 points after 10 games, one point ahead of second-placed UWC, who sealed a dominant 3-0 win over the University of Pretoria.
In terms of goal-scoring for Sundowns Ladies, Rabale’s brace brings her season total to eight goals, while Daweti has scored four. Melinda Kgadiete has scored three times while Andisiwe Mgcoyi has two strikes to her name.
Up next for Sundowns Ladies is a clash against Durban Ladies.