Mamelodi Sundowns claimed victory in the Tshwane Derby on Saturday against SuperSport United in Atteridgeville to extend their overall lead at the top of the DStv Premiership table and continue their unbeaten start to the season.
The wet, slippery conditions that enveloped the pitch in the nation’s Capital did nothing to stop the Pretoria rivalry from producing an intense clash. Masandawana pushed high from the off, causing Matsatsantsa to concede an early goal.
United’s Onismor Bhasera forced the first real chance within the opening four minutes, his superb long range strike was on target although The Brazilians goalie Denis Onyango had it covered and made a great save to give the hosts their first corner. Moments later after settling into the game, Masandawana kicked into their usual gear with Peter Shalulile making his first attempt at goal, but his effort was not to be counted. Moments later, Bafana Ba Style’s intensity and counter-attacking laid out the perfect opportunity for the defending champions to take the lead through Shalulile’s superb goal, making it 12 goals in the league for the Namibian international.
At the other end SuperSport broke forwards and started taking long shots towards Onyango in desperation to respond to the early goal scored by their rivals. United’s striker Thamsanqa Gabuza’s press almost gifted his team a goalscoring opportunity that was spotted by Rushine De Reuck who stopped the striker with a clean tackle outside the box. Masandawana got a chance to extend their lead with a free-kick after playing much of the first half in a physical contest, an excellent attempt by Thabiso Kutumela missed United’s goalposts by a few inches.
Rivaldo Coetzee and Themba Zwane who returned to Masandawana’s starting lineup, enjoyed a handful of brilliant passess between themselves while penetrating United’s wall in an attempt for a second goal to let the team take a comfortable lead. Just before half-time, Matsatsantsa nearly found a way back into the game as they played a long balls forward, Kegan Johannes raced in behind the Downs defense and was through on goal, only for his header to be blocked by Onyango.
The second-half started no faster than the first with the first chance being crafted by Gamphani Lungu of United who unleashed a stunning shot across the face of goal and in off the outside of the post hitting the side of the net. Matsatsantsa came out for the restart with a greater intensity – winning a free-kick after beating Grant Kekana, whilst Gabuza was again threatening with a chest pass towards goal.
Downs threatened to extend their lead when they entered the SuperSport half, as Lyle Lakay played a mid-air cross only for a stretching Shalulile to miss the target. Gaston Sirino’s pass to his teammate Shalulile could not be converted into a goal, United’s goalkeeper Boalefa Pule was well-positioned to stop any attempts made in his box.
Even though the second-half developed into a scrappy affair between the two Tshwane rivals, Namibian international Shalulile was adamant to add another one to his tally but a 2v1 break on attack was not his chance to do so. After Shalulile’s rebound, Mshishi was close to finishing off the job, but let down by his final touch.
Matsatsantsa’s confidence grew with more shots at goal and with minutes left to play, they continued looking for an equalizer and became more aggressive on the attack. Bafana Ba Style’s defense of De Reuck, Lakay, Kekana and Morena stood strong and defended outstandingly. In the end though, it was too late for the SuperSport to find an equalizer, and Masandawana were able to hold out and take victory back to the Chloorkop.
This is how we lined up: D. Onyango, N. Maema (73′ Mvala), T. Zwane, G. Kekana, L. Lakay, R.Coetzee, R. De Reuck, T. Morena, P. Shalulile, T. Kutumela (26′ Sirino), S. Mkhulise (89′ Nascimento)
K. Mweene, M. Mvala, K. Erasmus, L. Kapinga, P. Safranko, G. Sirino, S.Vilakazi, D. Lunga, R. Nascimento