After almost four trophy-laden years of enthralling wins, epic comebacks, and exhilarating goal-frenzy scorelines, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies have finally suffered their first defeat on the pitch since 2018.
The shock loss came on Sunday when The Brazilians were beaten 2-0 by the University of the Western Cape (UWC) Ladies in Cape Town during the fifth round of the Hollywoodbets Super League.
Both teams started the game on a high tempo with the continental champions grabbing the first opportunity at goal. Despite the early dominance, it was the hosts who opened the scoring thanks to a fantastic long-range strike from Khanya Xesi who beat Andile Dlamini.
Banyana Ba Style stepped up the momentum after that with the likes of Boitumelo Rabale and Tiisetso ‘Bastos’ Makhubela embarking on some darting runs which were negated by the resolute visitors. The Blues doubled their advantage midway through the first half courtesy of a fine finish from Sibulele Holweni.
Rabale and Rhoda Mulaudzi conjured up some exchanges a few minutes later but were unable to break down the hosts with the hosts going into the break with a 2-0 advantage over the defending champions.
The Brazilians emerged for the second half with renewed vigour and purpose and several chances were created after the restart. Coach Jerry ‘Kappa’ Tshabalala then looked to the bench with Thalea Smidt making way for Chantelle Esau, while Lerato Kgasago and Karabo Dhlamini replaced Melinda Kgadiete and Boitumelo Rabale respectively.
Despite a valiant effort in the second half, Sundowns Ladies were unable to convert their chances as they suffered their first defeat of the season.
“Our first-half performance let us down because we struggled to match their intensity and character during the early phases of the game. They battled for every ball, unsettled us, and took their chances when they had it. I spoke about the tactical nous of Thinasonke Mbuli during the build-up to the game and they showed why they are a force to be reckoned with in the league. Our second-half performance was much better and we are looking to move past this result in the shortest possible time,” Kappa stated.
Captain Zanele Nhlapho spoke on the need for the team to bounce back from the defeat as quickly as possible.
“The game of football is very unpredictable and we have just seen another proof of that. Our opponents showed great fight determination and they took their chance when it came along. We are not happy with the outcome of the match, but we have to dust ourselves up and move on to the next game. This defeat has done nothing to affect our mentality for the season. We will bounce back and we will do so emphatically,” said the Captain.
The last time Sundowns Ladies lost a game on the pitch was against Bloemfontein Celtic FC as far back as 2018.
Coach Jerry’s troops will be looking to make immediate amends for the defeat when they face TUT Ladies Football Club in their next fixture.