Hat-trick-hero Zwane fires Sundowns past AmaZulu

Themba Zwane © Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns secured a 4-3 victory over AmaZulu FC in an enthralling DStv Premiership match at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

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The victory took Masandawana to the top of the league standings, while Usuthu moved down to the 11th spot on the table.

Usuthu got off to the perfect start as they grabbed an early following a defensive error by Ricardo Nascimento, whose back-pass was intercepted by Lehlohonolo Majoro.

The experienced striker made no mistake as he chipped the ball over on-rushing Sundowns goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene to make it 1-0 to AmaZulu 15 minutes into the match.

Masandawana then took control of the match and they grabbed two quick goals through Themba Zwane, who was in scintillating form in the first-half.

The Bafana Bafana international combined with Peter Shalulile, before firing past AmaZulu keeper Siyabonga Mbatha to make it 1-1 in the 19th minute.

Zwane then made it 2-1 to Sundowns when he was set-up by Lebogang Maboe and he beat Mbatha with a curling effort nine minutes before the half-hour mark.

The 31-year-old winger was simply unstoppable as he completed his hat-trick in the 30th minute following a good move by reigning league champions.

This time Kermit Erasmus set-up Zwane inside the box and the skillful player scored from close range to make it 3-1 to Sundowns as they took a two-goal lead.

AmaZulu pushed forward in numbers as they looked to pull one back, but Sundowns stood firm at the back and the score was 3-1 to the hosts at the interval.

Usuthu came back rejuvenated following their half-time team talk with coach Ayanda Dlamini and they were awarded a penalty after Nascimento was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.

Luvuyo Memela netted his third goal of the season when the experienced winger scored on the rebound after his penalty was saved by Mweene in the 48th minute.

However, the visitors were caught napping at the back in the 56th minute and they were punished by Peter Shalulile to make it 4-2 to Sundowns with a header.

It was end-to-end stuff as AmaZulu responded with a goal when Sandile Khumalo headed home Augustine Mulenga's corner-kick to make it 4-3 just before the hour-mark.

Dlamini introduced Sibusiso Magaqa as the visitors looked to restore parity and the young attacking midfielder forced Mweene into a brilliant low save in the 67th minute.

Masandawana continued to attack in the closing stages of the match with Maboe forcing Mbatha into a fantastic save with 13 minutes left on the clock.

The visitors launched late attacks as they looked to grab a late equaliser, but hosts were solid and compact at the back and ultimately, Sundowns ran out 4-3 winners on the day.

Sundowns (3) 4 (Zwane 19', 21', 30', Shaulile 56')
AmaZulu (1) 3 (Majoro 15', Memela 48', Khumalo 59')

SUNDOWNS: Mweene, Morena (Morena 90'+3), Lakay, Madisha, Nascimento , Jali, Maboe (Kekana 83'), Coetzee, Erasmus (Makgalwa 79'), Zwane (Domingo 83'), Shalulile (Mudau 75').

AMAZULU: Mbatha, M. Gumede, Mabiliso, Booysen, Khumalo, Makhaula, Sithebe (Chawapiwa 58'), Mlambo (Magaqa 67'), Mulenga (Ntsundwana 90'), Memela, Majoro.