Mendieta the Hero in Last Gasp Win Against Richards Bay

Mamelodi Sundowns collected maximum points when they won by the skin of the teeth after a nail-biting encounter against Richards Bay FC on Tuesday evening at Loftus Versfeld. A last gasp header from Junior Mendieta was enough to seal the victory for the home team.

It was the home side that created the first real chance as they looked to make their intentions known. It came through Terrence Mashego, who hit a shot from the left flank but was unlucky as the ball went over the bar.

The mandate was very clear for the hosts as they continued to look for an opener by creating chances, but a goal was just not coming from them. Sipho Mbule looked to register his name up in this encounter’s scoresheet, 15 minutes in. Being in the receiving end of Matias Esquivel’s cross, Mbule headed the ball in the direction of the net but missed it by a few inches.

Richards Bay also had threatening moments, like when they drove the ball to their box in attempt to break the deadlock but Bathusi Aubaas defensive heroics saved the day as he made an important clearance. The couple of times the visitors came close to teeing up the box, the Downs defence made sure to quickly clear the danger.

Despite the multiple chances created in the first half, Masandawana could not capitalise and score the elusive opener. Heading into the halftime break, they had to settle for the zero goals apiece score.

The resumption of the encounter came with more possibilities for the Brazilians to walk away with all points as they continued to search for the opening goal. Gaston Sirino came with the first threat of the second stanza, following a delivery made to him by Sphelele Mkhulise but he could not find the target as he headed the ball.

Coach Rulani made a triple change, introducing Lesiba Nku, Junior Mendieta and Neo Maema who looked to make an immediate impact by firing a low cross just outside the box.

Siyabonga Mabena and Sammy Seabi also came in the mix, with a few minutes left in the second stanza. Mabena too, was looking to make an immediate impact upon his introduction as he collaborated with Maema. He drove the ball past two defenders in the box to set up Maema who fired a shot on target but the goalkeeper denied him a breakthrough by making a save.

Time was not on Bafana Ba Style’s side as they played in extra time, still looking for a goal in a an extremely difficult encounter against a side that worked hard to deny them any chance to see a goal. A breakthrough finally came for Downs a few seconds before the fulltime whistle was blown. It was man of the match, Sphelele Mkhulise who set up Mendieta with a long-range lob that he headed way past the keeper to find the net and kill the game. Masandawana remain on top of the DStv Premiership tally and lead by a substantial margin.

How we lined up: D. Onyyango, Mdunyelwa, Mashego, Mvala, Aubaas, Mkhulise, Maboe, Mbule, Esquivel, Matthews, Sirino.

Subs: February, B. Onyango, De Reuck, Seabi, Nkosi, Maema, Mabena, Mendieta, Nku.

4 Responses
  1. DOWNS4EVER

    Very much happy with a hard fought victory.First half we played nice possession football which lacked aggression and sense of urgency and , after the introduction of Maema,Mabena,Nku and Madienta we were more aggressive and played more purposeful football.I love the confidence in all our players,players like Seabi is like he has been playing the whole season.Happy to see Maema doing the positive things in the pitch unlike previously where he would always turn back and play back passes,yesterday he always turned to the right direction.We have talented young players who deserve to be given a fair chance.We are wasting Mabena’s time and retarding his progress by playing him in the diski challenge,the boy has got bib heart and the skill to play for the senior team,we don’t have a player like him in the senior team and also Letlhaku we have only Maseko who can take on players like him.We have Motsei who can score us goals,we need to constantly bring these boys close to the senior team and also play them,where are they going to get experience if we don’t play them.We need to cease from buying expensive players who are going to take time to adjust when we have our young players who can hit the ground running,we are going to lose good players like we did with Magerman if we keep on signing players every transfer window.We really need to work on what we have,besides we have other good players out on loan,players like Nasir needs patients.Lastly Mbule needs to play direct progressive football and stop to always trying fancy things whenever he receives the ball.He lost many balls last night by trying fancy things,i was also impressed with Aaubas’ hunger,aggression and fighting spirit,keep it up boy.

  2. Ronnie Bothma

    Well pointed out Downs4ever…. the teams wasn’t very fluid yesterday…for obvious reasons…the changes….I thought Aubaas had a very good game…. Pitso too….congrats Mendieta….plays with heart…I also Mbule plays I little too fancy for my liking…unnecessary at times…but we believe in all our players…Mbule is one of them. Good luck to the team on Friday…

  3. Sbedula

    OOOh what a hard fought points, regardless of 11 changes still manage to get results, thanks to the players and tenchical team we love you

  4. Dalom

    What a boring game it was. Playing same style week-in and week-out, possession football and slow build-up that do not hurt the opposition. Whether it’s the so called fringe players or regular players, the approach is still the same, and I’m expecting the same on Friday.. Favouritism is killing our team, you can see with Mendieta that the boy is not really happy with limited game time. Esquivael is just being forced on us, there’s nothing special about him, and I’m pleading with whoever is recruiting these South Americans to please STOP 🛑 as these guys do not bring anything special.

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