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By unknown | Aug 18, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

Mamelodi Sundowns went a long way towards securing a spot in the final of the MTN 8 when they won the first leg of the semifinal against SuperSport United 2-1 at Super Stadium in Atteridgeville.

As expected, the opening few minutes of the match were dedi- cated to both sides sizing each other up.

There were no real chances until suddenly, in the 10th minute of the match, hosts Sundowns went ahead through Jorge Acuna.

The midfielder had initially taken a shot, which United goalkeeper Dennis Onyango dived to the right to parry into the path of Lerato Chabangu, who held the ball only long enough for Acuna to place himself in a better position, and the Chilean blasted into the net.

United are renowned for their fighting spirit, and they have in the past come from behind and gone on to win, but not yesterday.

They surged forward in the 16th minute, but Letladi Madubanya, having done well to get into the 'Downs area, failed to find the ball to set up a waiting Brent Carelse.

Gavin Hunt's men found it hard to get behind the 'Downs defence, which was ably marshaled by Mbulelo "OJ" Mabizela.

Mabizela was again called upon three minutes from half- time to clear off the line from Daine Klate's shot.

At the other end, Benedict Vilakazi and Chabangu were finding acres of space, but the second goal was elusive. Just when Downs thought they would go into break one goal up, Carelse struck, heading home Klate's free kick for that vital away goal.

In the first few minutes after the break the two were knocking the ball around, though Downs were let off in the 51st minute, when United's swift counterattack was spoiled by Klate's poor cross.

When their chance came, 'Downs made no such mistake and they went 2-1 up in the 58th minute. Bongani Khumalo made a mistake while clearing his lines - heading the ball into Surprise Moriri's path, who scored from close range.

Hunt, who had been using one striker so far, sensed danger and brought on offensive players Katlego Mashego, Glen Salmon and Anthony Laffor, but to no avail.

There was drama in the dying minutes, when Sibusiso Zuma received a red card for a bad tackle on Klate.


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