Sundowns get title defence off to perfect start

Mamelodi Sundowns got their Absa Premiership title defence off to a perfect start in 2019/20 as they defeated Tshwane rivals SuperSport United 2-0 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday.

Goals from Sibusiso Vilakazi and Themba Zwane saw the Brazilians to a deserved victory over Matsatsantsa, who were unable to match their cross-town rivals for class and efficiency in front of goal.

SuperSport dominated the opening stages and caused some real trouble for the hosts’ defence, but the first clear opening went the way of Sundowns’ Themba Zwane on 10 minutes, but he was quickly closed down by goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.

On 18 minutes ‘Downs captain Hlompho Kekana picked up a loose ball in the ‘D’ of the penalty area and struck a fantastic shot on target, but Williams tipped the ball onto the crossbar to keep the score line blank.

Midway through the first half Williams was finally beaten, with Sibusiso Vilakazi scoring with a long-range, left-footed shot. The attacker’s effort hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced down over the goal line, as was correctly called by the referee’s assistant.

SuperSport looked for a reply through Bradley Grobler, who was denied by a low save from Denis Onyango, before the visitors suffered an injury blow just after the half hour mark: key midfielder Aubrey Modiba was stretchered off and replaced by new signing Kudakwashe Mahachi.

Sundowns remained 1-0 up to the halftime break, and SuperSport were the first to blink in the second stanza when they sent on youngster Sipho Mbule to replace Teboho Mokoena on the hour mark, looking to boost their attack and find a way back into the game.

Mahachi almost gave it to them just before the midway point of the second half, as he was denied at close range by a fine save from Onyango after United put together a slick passing move to open up the home team’s defence.

On 77 minutes Matsatsantsa almost drew level, with Bradley Grobler denied at close range by Onyango, while the rebound fell to Ghampani Lungu and he saw his effort deflected just wide of the posts.

United threw more men forward late in the game and they were hit on the counter attack in the final minute of regulation time, with Thapelo Morena doing well to hold up the ball and find Themba Zwane, who drove a perfectly-placed low effort into the bottom corner of the net to wrap up all three points.

Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 2 (Vilakazi 23’, Zwane 90’)

SuperSport United 0

Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango, Ngcongca, Lebusa, Arendse, Langerman, Morena, Kekana, Coetzee (Makgalwa 90+5’), Zwane, Vilakazi (Madisha 87’), Maboe (Sirino 74’)

SuperSport United: Williams, Kekana, Daniels, Fleurs, Bhasera, Rusike, Furman, Mokoena (Mbule 60’), Modiba (Mahachi 33’), Brobler, Gabuza (Lungu 69’)