Mamelodi Sundowns made it three league wins in a row with a 2-0 victory over Orlando Pirates in Soweto on Saturday afternoon. The Brazilians seized control from the start with their counter pressing in attack and their defence pushing daringly high, it was clear from the beginning what the DStv Premiership Champions were searching for.
Without changing much of the starting line up that has been excelling, Thabiso Kutumela marked his first appearance in the starting line up and without wasting any time, the 28-year old made his presence felt with his first attempt at goal within five minutes of the first half. Having paved their way towards their opponent’s box, Masandawana’s aggression opened spaces for them to take shots towards Pirates goalie Siyabonga Mpontshane but failed to find an early opening goal.
Bafana Ba Style remained in control from the start in search of a goal and there were long spells when it seemed that they were capable of keeping the ball all afternoon. Peter Shalulile came close to scoring the first goal in extra time of the first half, however it was marked offside by the assistant referee.
Both teams went into the first half break without scoring and prepared for a mouthwatering second half encounter.
The second half was a much more open affair, with rare scoring opportunities at first and hard tackles made by both teams. The defending Champions bold and high pressing abilities paid off in the early minutes of the second half when Goodman Mosele’s pass was intercepted by Kutumela who made no mistakes marching towards his opponents with confidence and brilliantly combined with Shalulile who wasted no time in scoring the first goal of the afternoon’s clash.
Shalulile’s goal was a fine finish and the goal changed the complexion of the game. Pirates, who had been passive, had to open up and it became a superb game as a result. Amabhakabhaka were not going down without a fight, winger Vincent Pule shortly posed a threat to Downs’ lead with a cross inside the box that was met by Rushine De Reuck and saved by Denis Onyango.
It was a performance full of graft and hard work, as well as moments of wonderful attacking football from both sides, however Masandawana’s brilliance could not be overlooked. The Buccaneers’ hopes of getting back into the contest all-but disappeared when Shalulile stunned Mpontshane with another cracker of a goal just after the 70th minute following a delightful cross from Lyle Lakay on the left hand side, with the Namibian getting himself a brace on the day.
There were flashes from Pirates towards the end of the second half with Shandu firing towards Downs’ defense hoping to find a goal to get the home team back in the game, Onyango denied all their efforts with a firm challenge near the end.
Mamelodi Sundowns concluded the afternoon’s encounter with a 2-0 win over Orlando Pirates to remain top of the DStv Premiership log unbeaten with 13 points from five matches played.
This is how we lined up: D. Onyango, L. Lakay, R. De Reuck, R. Coetzee (85′ S. Vilakazi) G. Kekana, M. Lebusa, A. Jali (79′ Mvala), T. Zwane (62′ Domingo), T. Kutumela (79′ N. Maema), K. Erasmus (62′ P. Safranko), P. Shalulile.
Subs: R. Goss, D. Lunga, G. Sirino, H. Domingo, B. Onyango, M. Mvala, N. Maema, P. Safranko, S. Vilakazi.