MAMELODI Sundowns closed to within three points of Absa Premiership leaders Kaizer Chiefs with a 3-1 victory over Platinum
Stars at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium near Rustenburg on Tuesday evening.
Goals from Surprise Moriri, Anthony Laffor and Lebohang Mokoena saw the Brazilians move to 46 points from 23 matches
played as they look to dial up the pressure on Chiefs, who have 49 points from 22.
As for Dikwena, they drop to eighth on the log with 32 points from 22 matches.
Sundowns made the early running and should have opened the scoring in just the seventh minute.
Teko Modise chipped in a cross-shot from the right that drifted over the goalkeeper and rebounded off the far post. The loose ball
fell right at the feet of Mokoena, but he directed his shot wide from just a metre out.
The visitors’ dominance paid off just before the midway point of the first half.
Overlapping left-back Mzikayise Mashaba beat several challenges before playing a hard, low cross to the near post and Surprise
Moriri provided a sharp finish from close range that went in via the underside of the crossbar.
Stars struggled to find an attacking rhythm and their first notable effort only arrived on the half hour mark, with Siphelele Mthembu
shooting off target from just outside the penalty area.
Dikwena coach Allan Freese clearly wasn’t happy with his side’s play and made a tactical substitution before halftime, replacing
Patrick Malokse with Botswana international Mogakolodi Ngele.
However, the change didn’t deter Sundowns’ attack and they duly doubled their lead four minutes into the second half, with
Mokoena providing a cutback from the left by-line and Anthony Laffor easily finished from close range to make it 2-0.
Moriri soon spurned a chance to make it 3-0, dragging a shot across the face of goal from the right of the penalty area, and on 65
minutes Issa Sarr forced a first notable save from Wayne Sandilands with a fierce drive that the ‘Downs keeper turned behind for
a corner kick.
With just under 20 minutes to play, Laffor sprinted free on goal and tried to round Siyabonga Mpontshane, but the goalkeeper
brilliantly stuck out his right hand and cleanly won the ball to keep his side within two goals.
However, the ‘keeper was beaten by Mokoena in the 78th minute. The Sundowns attacker charged down a clearance from a
defender before firing a low, long-range drive into the back of the net to make it 3-0.
Stars gave themselves a glimmer of hope with a goal in the 81st minute. Sandilands, who had a while earlier injured his ankle,
came for a cross from a corner kick but got nowhere near the ball, allowing Robert Ng’ambi a free header to make it 3-1.
Sundowns had to overcome an injury drama late in the game, with Sandilands signalling that he needed to be replaced due to his
injury, though the visitors had by that stage used all three of their substitutions. The keeper had no choice but to soldier on and
finish the game.
Platinum Stars (0) 1 (Ng’ambi 81’)
Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 3 (Moriri 21’, Laffor 49’, Mokoena 78’)
Platinum Stars: Mpontshane, Mere, Gumede, Semenya, Mpeta, Sarr (T. Mthembu 64’), Mhlongo, Malokase (Ngele 42’),
Ng’ambi, Hadebe, (Makudubela 61’) S. Mthembu
Mamelodi Sundowns: Sandilands, Mphahlele, Schut, Nthethe, Mashaba, Modise, Kekana, Moriri (Nyandoro 63’), Mokoena
(Malajila 81’), Wome (Zungu 63’), Laffor.-www.supersport.com