Mweene Heroics Helps Downs Secure Season Opening Victory

Mamelodi Sundowns began their 2021/22 campaign with a penalty shootout victory against Kaizer Chiefs on Sunday, at Lucas Moripe Stadium in a thrilling MTN 8 Cup encounter.

A lively opening encounter in the capital city between Mzansi’s two giants was nothing less than what football lovers had anticipated ahead of the afternoon’s encounter.

Masandawana’s goal poacher, Peter Shalulile opened the scoring in the early minutes of the match with a spectacular header connecting from Lyle Lakay’s perfect cross into the box from the left wing. 

Amakhosi’s first chance at goal followed a while after Downs took charge of possession in the middle of the park. Amakhosi struggled to put together convincing passes to move forward into their hosts territory, with their first attempt at goal coming from their striker, Benard Parker who met Kennedy Mweene ready to disengage any attacks aimed at his posts.

The Brazilian’s continued to showcase classy football with the exchange of passes between Themba Zwane, Mothobi Mvala and Khuliso Mudau who worked tirelessly on the wing to provide crosses into Chiefs final third.

Kaizer Chiefs continued to look for an equalizer with their defenders joining in attack once the referee awarded them with a corner kick that came from Mweene’s efforts to save another attack.

Masandawana continued making a bold statement, reminding their opponents that they are indeed the local defending Champions. Mvala joined the attacking party, finding spaces within Chiefs pockets and spotting Mshishi charging towards the opponents box. After a few touches, Zwane’s shot beat Itulemeng Khune in goal and found the back of the net to make it 2-0.

Bafana Ba Style continued taking advantage of Chiefs midfield with the left side of the pitch being a favourite to bring in the goals. Mvala’s lethal strike from the middle of the park to test Chiefs goalkeeper, was convincingly handing Downs another goal before the half time break, however his efforts were saved by the hands of the experienced Khune. 

As the game approached two thirds of the first half,  Downs continued to dominate with a great style of football, exchanging passes in between the midfielders who continued to take shots at the Glamour Boys.

Without converting their chances, Downs continued with a massive attack of combination play from Mudau, Mvala and Lakay with a marvelous technique, taking a shot that many had counted as a goal, however saved by the woodwork.

However, the Glamour Boys weren’t to be denied for much longer, with Njabulo Blom in attack to cross the ball to Benard Parker who made it 2-1 minutes before the break.

The visitors’ spirit continued in search for an equalizer in the last five minutes of the game posing threats to Downs dominance. A turnover in possession saw four Chiefs attackers take on two defenders, however captain Mosa Lebusa saved the day as he cleared the ball away.

Getting the second half of the game underway, Mamelodi Sundowns returned from the break looking to continue with their dominance in attack, with Zwane pushing forward and poking holes in Chiefs camp. 

Amakhosi kept their foot firmly on the pedal in the second half and were rewarded for that intensity with Keagan Dolly’s through pass to Kama Billiat catching Masandawana’s defense off duty to level the score.

Matters between the two teams levelled, a spectacular display of football continued for nearly twenty minutes, with both teams trying to find ways to break the defense. Masandawana continued taking advantage of their fast paced wingers, with Aubrey Modiba’s cross into the box finding Shalulile who scored from an off-side position.

A double substitution for Downs was made after the 60th minute, Andile Jali came on for Mvala, meanwhile Slovakian striker Pavol Safranko who made his debut for The Brazilians.

The battle continued with multiple attacks from both giants, it was Masandawana who were convincing once again pressing forward in search of a goal, however unfortunate to find the key to unlock the closing goal to win the match.

Another Downs debutant, Neo Maema, made his way in place of Haashim Domingo and the attacker got off to an exciting start, teaming up with Safranko and Shalulile upfront. 

Downs goalkeeper, Mweene got into the thrilling action when Phathutshedzo Nange’s shot was saved by his outstretched arm.

Bafana Ba Style made more substitutions with ten minutes left to play, full back Thapelo Morena exchanged positions with Mudau, who had an excellent performance and played a role in Zwane’s build up goal. Morena made an immediate impact from the bench as he joined in attack, with his shot hitting the side of the net.

The afternoon’s thrilling encounter was a massive battle that could not be settled after ninety minutes of play and both teams prepared yet for an additional extra time of thirty minutes. 

With the tempo of the game dropping, The Brazilians introduced another one of their new signings, Thabiso Kutumela to add depth to their attack. However, Masandawana and Amakhosi’s combat could not be decided any further by both teams challenging one another in open play. No goals were scored within the extra time as the two giants denied each other goal scoring opportunities. 

A penalty shootout was inevitable after the long awaited battle to decide which team will advance to the next round of the tournament.

Zambian international Kennedy Mweene was the deciding factor of the tournament, the shot stopper made incredible four saves out of the five penalties taken by the opponents. 

Masandawana won the shootout by 2-1, penalties scored by the goalkeeper himself and Zwane.

Mamelodi Sundowns join Golden Arrows and Swallows FC in the semifinals of the MTN8 Cup competition.

How the team lined up: K. Mweene, K. Mudau (88’ T. Morena), L. Lakay, R. De Reuck, M. Lebusa, R. Coetzee, M. Mvala (63’ A. Jali), H. Domingo (73’ N. Maema), A. Modiba (63’ P. Safranko), T. Zwane, P. Shalulile

Substitutions: R, Pieterse, D. Lunga, T. Morena, G. Kekana, N. Maema, A. Jali, S. Mkhulise, P. Safranko, T. Kutumela.

12 Responses
  1. Dalom

    Well done Kennedy, Well done to the whole team, including the technical team. Great performance by some of our underrated players, the likes of Domingo, Mvala and Mudau. Our central defence, including the defensive midfield of Rivaldo is still a suspect, but I believe our technical team will work on the problem. I heard coach Manqoba even complaining about our defensive block

  2. Philani

    Sometimes Mweene can surprise you and prove you wrong. But all all in all the team done exceptional well. Wish them everything of the best going forward. Safranko maybe given time may be he will prove me wrong

  3. ITDowns

    Congrats to the team. I thought we made it difficult for ourselves. Regarding Safranko, it was difficult to watch. I really hope he proves me wrong. I know Alfonso was injury-prone but he was comfortable at both feet and head. The same cannot be said about our new 9. The technical team should have been more patient
    with Motupa because our new 9 is not convincing at all.

    1. Downs4ever

      Big up to the team for reaching the semis.I was very impressed with Domingo and Lakay,De Reuck vety good defensively but need to turn defence into an attack.Technical team is unable to manage players,you can’t introduce new foreign player when we are under pressure,we need to make him settle properly,introduce him gradually when the team is leading.We needed Motupa in his place,he complimented Shaulile well last season,please don’t undo the good job you did last season with him.I’m not against Mvala,he’s a hard worker but not comfortable in the ball,he needs to be introduced when we are leading to shut the door.Lastly,that Maema boy is something else,he’s fearless,skilful,pacey and above all tactically astute,he was born to play for the Mighty Downs.I foresee us hammering teams this season.We have so many good players this season,players like Zwane need to be managed properly and Sirinoh must be released,we need players who are committed to the team,we have Maema,Domingo,Mkhulise and also Kapinga so why worry about Sirinoh,his contribution was below par last season.We need to be business wise by selling him.Good luck for Friday’s game.

  4. sbedula

    Hey guys I will like to congratulate my team and the technical team, the boys played well but the only mistake we did is that we didn’t use our chances we created caz we should have finish the game in the first half and we allowed chiefs to come back. but maybe is because it our first game of the season.

  5. ayanda

    Congratulations to the technical team and the players for the victory, however our defensive play is suspect and it needs to be fixed. I kind of feel when we sit back we are not organised well enough to defend the lead, we only look good when we attack. Safranko needs to prove me wrong ,from what I see , Affonso is way better than him technically and also both Gift Motupa and Thabiso Kutumela can play better than Safranko however I am not a coach , maybe they know something I do not know.

  6. Champ

    Congratulation to the team Mshishi,Shalaluli,Mdau,Musa,Muweni,Jali,Morena,Lakey,Mvala and the another you really represented the batch thank you very much.

  7. Ronnie Bothma

    Well done Mweene… Excellent. The whole played well. Very surprised with the level of fitness. I didn’t expect it. Zwane looks very fit. Shout out to Mudau, Modiba… Well played. I agree with the guys though regarding Safranko… We supporters but you can’t fool us. Im not attacking the personality… But his football. Zero guys… As a supporter, I hope to proven wrong

  8. jimmy

    the very same people who are talking bad about Pavol Safranko are the very first to sing his praises when he is scoring for Sundowns and won’t come out as bold as they are when fed humble pie .

  9. Bango

    That was an excellent contribution to the team. There is a time where experience has to come to the party. WELL DONE.

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