Sundowns go top with win over Chippa

Mamelodi Sundowns put in a performance of patience and persistence to defeat Chippa United 1-0 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday evening and move to the top of the DStv Premiership.

The Brazilians secured the victory against an ultra-defensive Chilli Boys thanks to an injury time winner from Peter Shalulile, with the result taking them to the peak of the standings on goal difference ahead of Richards Bay. The Eastern Cape hosts remain bottom of the log and will feel sickened at coming away with nothing for a disciplined and determined – albeit unambitious – showing.

Sundowns offered the first threat on goal as early as the fifth minute, with Aubrey Modiba striking on target direct from a free kick, but he saw his effort turned over the crossbar by Chippa goalkeeper Lloyd Kazapua.

On 14 minutes ‘Downs pierced the home side’s low-block defence and sent Lebohang Mokoena through on goal, but he was quickly closed down by Kazapua and Zuko Mdunyelwa, with the chance spurned.

The Chilli Boys sat back and looked to hit on the break, though they were dealt a blow in attack when striker Etiosa Ighodaro was withdrawn and replaced by Diego Appollis on 34 minutes. The Nigerian had previously been involved in a collision of heads with Sundowns defender Mothobi Mvala.

The last chance of the first half fell to Sundowns, as they almost took advantage of a miscommunication in Chippa’s defence. Trevor Mathiane’s clearance left Kazapua in no-man’s land, but Marcelo Allende’s attempt to head on target looped just over the crossbar on 45 minutes, leaving the game goalless at the break.

The second half picked up where the first left off, with Chippa sitting deep and Sundowns enjoying the vast majority of possession, and the away side carved out another chance on 55 minutes when Mvala narrowly missed getting onto Peter Shalulile’s knock-down in the six-yard box.

The Brazilians looked to freshen up their attack with the introduction of Erwin Saavedra and Cassius Mailula on 70 minutes, but Chippa continued to be an immovable object in defence.

And the hosts even had a rare scoring chance of their own with just under 10 minutes to play, as substitute Thabiso Lebitso led a counterattack which ended with him shooting wide of the near post from the right of the penalty area.

Sundowns’ persistence and patience was almost rewarded on 87 minutes with another fine strike on target from a free kick by Modiba, but Kazapua tipped the ball onto the crossbar and out for a corner kick.

Two minutes later Kazapua made another key intervention to ensure Themba Zwane did not turn home a loose ball from close range, but the resulting corner kick brought the game’s deciding moment.

Modiba’s delivery was flicked on by Mvala and Shalulile was in the right place at the right time to volley home from close range and secure all three points for the Brazilians.

The visitors ended on something of a sour note when Modiba was sent for a second yellow card, but it did not take the gloss off an important victory.

The teams will return to DStv Premiership action on Saturday, 10 September, with Chippa away to AmaZulu and Sundowns at home to Golden Arrows.

Chippa United 0
Mamelodi Sundowns (0) 1 (Shalulile 90+1’)

Chippa: Kazapua, Mdunyelwa, Banda, Pietersen, Mathiane, Pfumbidzai, Mqokozo (Mbenyane 53’), Poggenpoel, Mkhize (September 68’), Matrose (Lebitso 68’), Ighodaro (Appollis 34’)

Sundowns: Williams, Mudau, De Reuck, Mvala, Modiba, Mokoena (Morena 77’), Jali, Maema (Mailula 70’), Zwane, Allende (Saavedra 70’), Shalulile.