A moment of magic from Ralani, De Reuck, Safranko and Shalulile gave Downs victory over the KwaZulu-Natal outfit.
A hot contest of football emerged at the Princess Magogo Stadium as Bafana Ba Style got back in action with their first task of the new year. The hosts did not hold back in their attacks against Downs, Sibonginhlanhla Mthethwa came forth with a scoring opportunity for the hosts, with his shot going wide to give Kennedy Mweene a chance to regroup his defense, another chance at goal for Richards Bay applied pressure on Masandawana’s defense but no luck for the hosts.
Bafana Ba Style got into their momentum with passes exchanged on the right wing, Thabiso Kutumela’s blast at Bays goalie Malcolm Jacobs was enough to allow for a rebound, with the ball lending on Bradley Ralani’s chest, the new recruit shot one home for the Yellow Nation and marked his perfect debut into the star-studded team.
Moments before heading into the break, Masandawana looked to extend their lead with Andile Jali who was leading the team taking his first shot at goal. The defending Champions went into the break with a 1-0 lead over their opponents.
The hosts then became spectators for much of the second half, while superiority of the Tshwane giants was rewarded with defender Rushine De Reuck heading home from Kutumela’s delivery, making it his first goal in the Nedbank Cup competition. Mweene shortly forced a superb save from Richards Bay who rarely troubled the hosts on the counter-attack.
Bafana Ba Style remained in control of the game and substitutions were made, Slovak international Pavol Safranko made his way into the pitch together with The Brazilians new kid on the block Teboho Mokoena as Rivaldo Coetzee and Kutumela made their way off the pitch.
Khuliso Mudau’s role on the wing proved to be Downs’ added advantage in the game, the pacey full back got his chance at goal coming face to face with Jacobs, but the blasteeing shot was saved. Combinations between Themba Zwane and Mudau dismantled Bay’s defensive line, Safranko was well positioned to finish off an in-swinger from Mudau and Masandawana solidified their intent on the evening in the #KeYona knockout cup.
Bafana Ba Style controlled a tight contest throughout and looked to score more goals, Lakay delivered a fierce shot on target after Ralani’s foul outside the 18 area hitting the top corner of the goalposts. A follow up in attack kept Masandawana in possession, Lesedi Kapinga who had just made his way in for Andile Jali was in action with Lakay, together connecting with Namibian international Shalulile who finally put the ball at the back of the net to bury the hosts chances of a comeback.
Mudau’s brilliance rightly earned him the Man of the Match award.
This is how we lined up:
Mweene, R. Coetzee (61′ Mokoena), L. Lakay, B. Onyango, R. De Reuck, A. Jali © (77′ Kapinga), K. Mudau, B. Ralani, T. Kutumela (61′ Safranko), T. Zwane (77′ Domingo), P. Shalulile.
Pieterse, M. Mvala, A. Modiba, T. Morena, H. Domingo, L. Kapinga, T. Mokoena, S. Vilakazi, P. Safranko (88′ Morena).