Reigning continental champions, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies saw off University of the Western Cape 1-0 with Lelona Daweti grabbing the winner in a highly entertaining contest at Vasco Da Gama Stadium on Sunday. The narrow victory saw the treble winners extend their lead at the top of the Hollywoodbets Super League as the season enters its final weeks.
Having narrowly edged their opponents by a single goal earlier this season, The Brazilians were fully aware of the tough nature of the Cape Town outfit who are placed third on the league table. Nevertheless, Sundowns began the game on the front foot with CAF Champions League Final MVP, Andisiwe Mgcoyi, going close in the first few minutes of the highly anticipated fixture.
The hosts launched their first major attack of the game in the fifth minute but that chance was adequately dealt with by the in-form goalkeeper Andile Dlamini. Forward Lelona Daweti who was playing in her home town also grabbed an early attempt as the first ten minutes delivered end-to-end action.
Banyana Ba Style continued to carve out opportunities with Melinda Kgadiete linking up with Mgcoyi on several occasions. However, the defending champions were duly rewarded just before the half time break as the partnership between Melinda and Mgcoyi led to a golden opportunity for Lelona who struck the game’s opener and her 12th league goal of the season.
The Chloorkop side began the second half with several waves of attacks with Rhoda Mulaudzi embarking on several tricky runs down the by-line and launching in a number of crosses. The next thirty minutes saw the game ebb and flow with both sets of goalkeeper proving equal to the task. Coach Jerry Tshabalala then made several changes with the hopes of grabbing the all-important second goal with Melinda and Chantelle Esau replaced by Sizanda Komane and Khutso Pila respectively. In the end, Banyana Ba Style showed great determination and grit to seal maximum points.
Coach Tshabalala was full of praise for his troops who showed character throughout the game.
“Credit must go to my players after a hard-fought victory over a very top opponent. At a time during the match, they were all over us, but we showed our resilience yet again. I am very happy with the way we kept our cool even when they kept us at bay. One thing I have come to understand is that champions always find a way to win. In the last few games in the league, we have shown great determination and I am excited about the tenacity shown by my charges,” stated Coach Tshabalala.
Goalscorer Lelona Daweti who marked her return back to her hometown with a goal also hailed the mental strength of the team.
“We were very much aware of the kind of threat our opponents possess. This is evident by their position on the league standings. They gave us a very good test and I am very happy that we were able to play to our strengths. What matters at the end of the day is grabbing maximum points and that is what we did today. I am proud to have scored the winning goal,” Lelona said with a smile.
Cape Town-born Thalea Smidt who delivered an energetic performance in midfield hailed the character of The Brazilians.
“It is never an easy fixture on the road and this game was no exception. This game truly pushed us to the limit and the team showed character and determination in every department on the pitch. It has been a very hectic last few weeks for us as the games are coming thick and fast. Although the frequency of these games takes its toll on us, we know that as champions, this is what we live for. I am glad that we picked up maximum points in Cape Town which is where I am from. With this game concluded, our focus switches to the next game and we are hoping for maximum points yet again,” Smidt asserted.
The victory further extends the dominance of Sundowns Ladies on the league table. After 24 games played, The Brazilians have racked up an impressive 22 wins, with just one draw and one defeat (boardroom decision), scoring 75 goals and conceding just 12.