Mamelodi Sundowns extended their lead at the head of the Absa Premiership table with a 3-1 win over Lamontville Golden Arrows at the Chatsworth Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Brazilians scored their goals through Lebohang Mokoena (a brace) and Mabhuti Khenyeza after Abafana Bes’thende debutant Bryce Moon had handed the KwaZulu-Natal team an early lead.
With Kaizer Chiefs going down 1-0 away to Free State Stars and Ajax Cape Town only in action on Sunday, the 3-1 win for ‘Downs sees them move a full seven points clear (temporarily at least) at the top of the log standings.
After a sluggish start, Arrows brought the game to life with a bang in the tenth minute. A wonderful passing move, that started deep in their own half and ended with Bryce Moon cracking a shot past Wayne Sandilands from the edge of the box, handed the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Yet, with conditions slippery underfoot, Arrows’ defence looked ill at ease and it seemed a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ Sundowns would find the back of the net.
And just before the midway point of the first half the Brazilians made it 1-1, with Lebohang Mokoena getting ahead of Mzuvukile Tom to volley home Innocent Mdledle’s cleverly floated ball in between the backline and goalkeeper Helton Da Rocha After bringing themselves level, Sundowns looked comfortably the better team in the conditions and began to boss the match.
Five minutes before the break they were rewarded for their superiority when Mokoena scored his second, easily tapping in at the far post after Franklin Cale’s corner kick somehow travelled through the six-yard box almost untouched Arrows coach Zoran Filipovic looked to shuffle his pack in the early stages of the first half, introducing Nkanyiso Mlotshwa in place of goal scorer Moon and Sphesihle Nzimande in place of Njabulo Manqana.
Yet Abafana Bes’thende never really looked like threatening Sundowns and any hopes they had of making a comeback were effectively ended with 13 minutes to play when defender Josephs Musonda was shown a straight red card by referee Lwandile Mfiki for a studs-up challenge on Thapelo Tshilo.
The expulsion forced Filipovic to use his last substitution to bring on defender Siyanda Zwane in order to stabilise the backline instead of using either Songwe Chalwe and Vusumuzi Vilakazi, who remained on the bench. Arrows did have a great chance late on to bring themselves level but Sandilands made a superb save to deny Tom in a one-on-one situation. The Brazilians then punished the hosts for their miss when Mabhuti Khenyeza netted the third goal in the 88th minute, wrapping up the points for the Tshwane team.-Backpagepix