Mamelodi Sundowns moved three points clear at the top of the DStv Premiership table after handing Orlando Pirates their first loss of the season.
Sundowns were without the services of Themba Zwane and Gaston Sirino, while Wayne Sandilands started between the sticks in the absence of Richard Ofori.
With a quarter of an hour gone, Vincent Pule unleashed a stinging long-range drive which forced Denis Onyango into a diving save to his left to push the ball away from danger. Soon after, Pule had two bites at the cherry, the first was blocked by Innocent Maela and his follow-up effort went sailing wide of the target from an angle.
With 22 minutes gone on the clock, Lebogang Maboe tried to chip Wayne Sandilands from range and it wasn’t a bad effort as the Bucs goalkeeper had to scurry back and cautiously watch it go over his post.
Pirates came the closest any side had come to scoring in the 33rd minute. The ball was played over the top down the left for Deon Hotto, who got in behind and crossed into the box but the danger was brilliantly cleared by Brian Onyango.
Soon afterwards, the Brazilians took the lead against the run of play as Onyango turned from defensive hero a goalscoring one. Rivaldo Coetzee’s free-kick to the back post was diverted back into the box an under the crossbar for Onyango to bravely tower above the flailing Sandilands and head home.
Pirates were playing like a side that had received a stern talking-to at half-time from coach Josef Zinnbauer, going about their business with greater intensity and purpose. The next chances came Sundowns way, however. Khuliso Mudau got to the byline and floated the ball up to the back post but Ntsikelelo Nyauza did brilliantly to make the clearance pretty much off the goalline.
Soon after, Mudau once again got in behind down the right thanks to the searing pace of Thapelo Morena and he crossed into the box but Shalulile’s flicked effort was well saved by the legs of the onrushing Sandilands.
Chances were coming thick and fast in the second period. In the 70th minute, Coetzee was yellow-carded for a tackle from behind on Mhango. The Malawian dusted himself off, lined up the free-kick and forced Onyango into another diving save to his left.
In the 82nd minute, Shalulile wriggled his way free from a couple of defenders and passed to an unmarked Erasmus, whose effort hit the outside of the right-hand post before going behind.
The champions kept pressing for their second and were the dominant side in the closing stages and although they failed to extend their advantage, the men from Chloorkop still came away with the three points nevertheless.
In Other News – Tottenham 3 – 0 Leeds United
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While Jose Mourinho’s side merited their win, Leeds played a significant part in their own downfall. learn more
Source – SoccerLaduma