Sundowns get their PSL campaign back on track


Langerman 41, Vilakazi 52


Kaizer Chiefs (1) 1

Mphahlele 39


ON the day they finally got to play with the gold star above their emblem to forever brag about their CAF Champions League achievement, Mamelodi Sundowns showed here that it would take something special to end their domination in the domestic league. It’s been a mental challenge of extreme propositions for the Brazilians – the continental title holders – to claw their way up the Absa Premiership log table.

Their coach Pitso Mosimane was desperately hoping a fixture as massive as this one against third-placed Kaizer Chiefs would wake them up for their slumber, having only managed a single win in three matches. Sundowns were their old self again, dictating play and pressing Amakhosi deep into their box even after they were breached first when defender Ramahlwe Mphahlele’s cross-cum-shot evaded goalkeeper Denis Onyango and into the back of the net.

The opening goal of this clash was an event all on its own with Mphahlele returning to a venue he knows all too well having joined Chiefs from Sundowns in July. But his celebration, or lack thereof as the former Downs skipper subdued his moment of glory, was cut shot with Tebogo Langerman scoring almost immediately on the stroke of half-time. Amakhosi had taken the lead when few expected them to, but the Sundowns equaliser restored things to normality and again put the visitors under pressure.

Chiefs are clearly going through a slump and defeat here stretched their winless run to four matches in all domestic competitions, while Sundowns might look at this victory as a way to kick start their 2016-17 campaign having fallen behind because of their African Champions League surgeon. And you would have to write them off at your own peril to retain their Premier League trophy even with the slight distraction of traveling to Japan for the Fifa Club World Cup early next month.

Their supremacy was evident here against a Chiefs side that put out a confusing and quite defensive-minded line-up. A total of five defenders, including hardman Willard Katsande, were all thrown in, and Chiefs coach Steve Komphela did attempt to go for goals with two strikers in Lewis Macha and Michelle Katsvairo. Sundowns, however, possessed the true grit and firepower. The home side looked threatening each time they were on the attack and launching forward. Itumeleng Khune, the Bafana Bafana and Chiefs first choice goalkeeper, had to put on a shift, but was eventually beaten again when Sibusiso Vilakazi finished from close range to give Sundowns the lead and put the game to bed.

Mosimane still had the luxury to bring on Colombian hitman Leonardo Castro just to show off and get his match fitness back up following an ankle injury that kept him out for three months. Chiefs’ way of retaliating was by calling on Bernard Parker, a forward who is a shadow of himself lately.

The Sundowns winning goal showed their class and muscle up top, with Keagan Dolly, Percy Tau and Vilakazi all combining to punish a Chiefs team that barely showed any credentials as title contenders. And it the scoreline could have been worse.

Follow Mazola Molefe on Twitter@superjourno

Independent Media

Original source: Sundowns get their PSL campaign back on track