‘Downs win opening-day heavyweight bout

Mamelodi Sundowns, the defending league champions, showed that they have every intention of continuing their dominance after recording a 3-0 win over fellow heavyweights Kaizer Chiefs in a DStv Premiership clash at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

This meeting of last season’s top two in the league was decided by goals from the Brazilians’ new strikers Peter Shalulile and Kermit Erasmus – as well as a late penalty from reigning Player of the Season Themba Zwane – with the Amakhosi lacking the necessary coherence and penetration in their play to go toe-to-toe with the current PSL kings.

Chiefs had the first chance to open the scoring just three minutes into the game, with Khama Billiat firing off a volley which required a sharp save from ‘Downs goalkeeper Dennis Onyango.

The Tshwane side settled into the game and began to test out their hosts’ defence with some probing passing, while Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune had a couple of nervy moments – in particular a poor clearance midway through the half which would have cost a goal were it not for a fine recovery from Ramahlwe Mphahlele.

Khune continued to look unconvincing and he was punished in the 37th minute, coming off his line and flapping at a corner kick which hit the shoulder of Peter Shalulile and somewhat fortuitously looped into the net to give the Brazilians the lead.

Sundowns remained 1-0 ahead up to the halftime whistle, with the visitors just about justifying their lead with superior control and ambition. Chiefs, at the start of the second half, withdrew the booked Willard Katsande and replaced him with Njabulo Blom in midfield.

Yet ‘Downs continued to boss the game and claimed a second goal in the 54th minute. Themba Zwane was put in on goal and Khune did well initially to deny the midfielder, but the rebound fell kindly for Kermit Erasmus, who arrowed a low shot into the bottom corner for 2-0.

A third goal for ‘Downs looked on the cards when Zwane again got in behind the hosts’ defence, but he was denied by a brilliant recovery tackle from Daniel Cardoso which just about kept the Amakhosi in the contest.

But aside from a close-range effort from Billiat which was well saved by Onyango, Chiefs never really threatened a comeback and Sundowns were able to add to their advantage in the 89th minute when Zwane struck home a penalty – with the spot kick earned by former Amakhosi player George Maluleka.

The teams will return to DStv Premiership action this coming midweek, with Chiefs away to Chippa United on Tuesday 27 October and Sundowns hosting Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila the following day.

Kaizer Chiefs 0

Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 3 (Shalulile 37’, Erasmus 54’, Zwane 89’ pen)


Kaizer Chiefs: Khune, Frosler (Lesako 74’), Cardoso, Mphahlele, Sasman, Ngcobo, Katsande (Blom 46’), Manyama (Ntshangase 62’), Parker (Mashiane 62’), Billiat, Castro (Sifama 74’)

Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango, Morena (Mudau 77’), Nascimento, Madisha, Lakay, Coetzee, Kekana (Maluleka 71’), Jali, Zwane, Shalulile (Domingo 71’), Erasmus (Maboe 56’)