Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies have become the first team this season to inflict a defeat on Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies. Goals from Boitumelo Rabale and Gabonnelwe Kekana handed The Brazilians a 2-0 win over their opponents during the eighth round of the Hollywoodbets Super League played at the Groenkloof Tuks Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Coach Jerry Tshabalala fielded his strongest possible unit with a three-pronged attack consisting of red-hot top scorer Andisiwe Mgcoyi, Rhoda Mulaudzi, and Melinda Kgadiete. Both teams registered early chances but the goalkeepers were up to the task.
Banyana Ba Style then grabbed the opener thanks to Boitumelo Rabale from the penalty spot. The strike was her ninth of the season, equalling Mgcoyi’s tally of nine as well. The converted spot-kick ensured Downs went into the break ahead thanks to a narrow lead.
After the break, goal-scorer Rabale was replaced by Lelona Daweti as the continental champions pushed for a second goal. That eventually happened in the 69th minute when Gabonnelwe Kekana delivered a long-range strike to double Sundowns’ advantage.
A few minutes later, newly-introduced Daweti saw her effort hit the woodwork as the treble-winners continued to mount the pressure. With time running out, Andisiwe Mgcoyi, Nhlanhla Mthandi, and Melinda Kgadiete were replaced by Chantelle Esau, Thalea Smidt, and Karabo Dhlamini respectively.
Goalkeeper Andile Dlamini delivered some quality saves to deny Celtics a consolation goal as Sundowns Ladies ended their opponent’s unbeaten streak. Coach Jerry was full of praise of his charges who dug deep to secure the much-needed victory.
“As I said during the preview of the game, Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies are a very solid side and they showed their resilience throughout the game. They showed why they are a team to watch out for this season because they are well-coached. Despite their solid setup, we found a way to negate their game plan. Our overall pressing game was very impressive and the win was well deserved,” Kappa stated.
Scorer of the second goal, Gabonnelwe Kekana spoke on the mental fortitude of the reigning champions, “The game was not easy by any means, because they were unbeaten heading into this clash. The only thing we wanted was three points and I am very happy with our performance. Champions find a way to win and this was further proof of our winning mentality.”
Oratile Mokwena was full of praise for Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies who offered stiff resistance for large periods, “We knew that they were a very competitive team, hence we needed to be patient with our build-up play. I am happy with the level of work we put in today and we are ready for the next one.”
The 2-0 victory meant Sundowns Ladies have now strengthened their grip at the top of the Hollywoodbets Super League with 21 points accumulated after 8 games played. The Brazilians have bagged a league-high 38 goals and have conceded just five times and boast of a mammoth goal difference of +33.
On the goal-scoring front, Andisiwe Mgcoyi and Boitumelo Rabale lead the Sundowns’ chart with nine strikes apiece, Miche Minnies has netted four times while Rhoda Mulaudzi and Nonhlanhla Mthandi have both scored three and two goals respectively.
Up next for Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies FC is a top-of-the-table showdown against JVW FC at the Tuks Stadium in Groenkloof at 13h00. For this game, spectators are welcomed to attend provided they bring their vaccination cards and ID to gain entry.