Sundowns go top in five-goal thriller

Anthony Laffor © Backpagepix

Mamelodi Sundowns beat Cape Town City 3-2 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Tshwane on Saturday evening, to move top of the Absa Premiership standings.

Lebohang Maboe, Anthony Laffor and Phakamani Mahlambi found the back of the net for the Brazilians who leapfrog both Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits to sit at the summit of the standings on 39 points. Cape Town City remain fourth, six points adrift.

Having missed successive opportunities to take their place atop the league standings, the defending champions finally took their opportunity in a thrilling clash. Riyaad Norodien and Kermit Erasmus were on target for the visitors.

The Brazilians forced Peter Leeuwenburgh into an early save as Gaston Sirino drilled a low shot at goal, but the Citizens goalkeeper was hardly challenged - getting down well to make an easy save.

Norodien fired City's first shot in anger with eight minutes on the clock, beating his marker before flashing a low shot inches wide of Kennedy Mweene's goal.

Sirino came within inches of pulling the hosts in front in the 22nd minute. Laffor's powerful cross caused havoc inside the City penalty with the ball eventually falling to the Uruguayan who failed to convert, as he dragged his left-footed attempt inches wide of goal.

The Brazilians hit the front seconds later through Maboe who netted his sixth goal of the campaign.

The attacker timed his run perfectly from Tebogo Langeman's long range pass and showcased great composure to wait for the ball to bounce up off the dry surface before hitting an unstoppable shot past the Citizens shot-stopper.

Sundowns continued to dominate proceedings and looked sure to doubled their lead in the 32nd minute only for Leeuwenburgh to deny Langerman from close range. The Dutch national with a superb reflex save to keep out the fullback's stunning effort.

The hosts were made to rue several missed opportunities in the first half, three minutes after the break as City pulled level. Norodien making no mistake from the spot following a handball in the area by Langerman.

Laffor fired the hosts back in front on the hour mark with a superb strike. Often the man for the big occasion, the Liberian rose to the occasion once more - striking an unstoppable shot past Leeuwenburgh from the edge of the area.

Sundowns missed another gilt-edged chance in the 67th minute. Sirino and Zwane linked up neatly inside the area, but the latter failed to hit the target with the goal at his mercy.

Mahlambi finally doubled Sundowns lead three minutes from time and deservedly so. The forward on target for the second game in succession from an unselfish lay-up from Zwane.

City, to their credit, never gave up and made for a nervy finish as Erasmus thundered a wonder-strike past a rooted Mweene for his first goal in Citizens blue. It served as a mere consolation, though, as Sundowns held on to claim all three points.

Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 3 (Maboe 23' Laffor 60' Mahlambi 87'

Cape Town City (0) 2 (Norodien 48' PEN Erasmus 90+2')

TEAMS

Mamelodi Sundowns: Mweene; Langerman, Nascimento (Lebusa 65'), Coetzee, Ngcongca, Kekana, Jali, Zwane, Laffor (Lakay 83'), Maboe, Sirino (Mahlambi 75').

Cape Town City: Leeuwenburgh, Mkhize, Cupido Fielies, Dove (Sedat 46'), Mokeke, Modise (Kewuti 46'), Links, Martin, Norodien, Mthembu (Erasmus 67').