Sirino goal downs Chippa in Mdantsane

Sundowns © Backpagepix

Mamelodi Sundowns claimed a hard-fought 1-0 win over Chippa United in an Absa Premiership clash at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane on Saturday night.

An early goal from Gaston Sirino was enough the Brazilians to return to winning form (after back-to-back draws earlier this month) and move up to fourth place on the log. The Chilli Boys suffered a second straight defeat and drop to 12th place.

The first clear chance of the match went the way of Sundowns in the eighth minute, as Andile Jali set up Gaston Sirino in the middle of the penalty area, but the forward was denied by a fine save from Chippa goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.

Yet just a minute later the Uruguayan put the visitors ahead, picking up a loose ball in the ‘D’ of the box and whipping a great shot into the top corner of the net – this time Akpeyi had no chance of making a save.

The Brazilians were inches away from doubling their lead in the 27th minute, as a looping cross from the left flank picked out an unmarked Jali at the back post, but his first-time volley rebounded off the woodwork.

Chippa end the first half strongly – they had a goal from Andile Mbenyane ruled out for offside and were denied a very strong shout for a penalty when Ricardo Nascimento appeared to handle in the 18-yard area – but the break still saw ‘Downs 1-0 up.

The visitors should have made it 2-0 in the 65th minute, with Sirino sprinting free down the left of the area before playing a pass across the face of goal – Thema Zwane missed the ball completely with an open goal in front of him.

On 76 minutes the Chilli Boys missed a great chance to level the game: a right-wing cross was brilliantly knocked down by Rhulani Manzini to present Mbenyane with a sight of goal, but he dragged his effort wide of the mark.

Chippa continued to push for an equaliser, but Sundowns were able to hold them at bay and secure three valuable points in their push to win the league championship for a second successive year.

Sundowns will be back in Absa Premiership action on November 7 when they host Free State Stars, while Chippa’s next league game is away to Kaizer Chiefs three days later.

Chippa United 0

Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 1 (Sirino 9’)

Chippa United: Akpeyi, Macheke, Nsabiyumva, Nthethe, Tlolane, Mokeke, Sangweni (Lentjies 86’), Gamildien, Klate (Malepe 65’), Mbenyane (Rakhale 77’), Manzini

Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango, Ngcongca, Lebusa, Nascimento, Lakay, Kekana, Jali, Zwane, Maboe (Mabunda 79’), Sirino (Brockie 84’), Mahlambi (Ali Meza 64’)