Tau strike sends Cape Town All Stars out of Nedbank Cup
Mamelodi Sundowns brought a sense of normality back to the Nedbank Cup with a 1-0 first round victory over Cape Town All Stars at the Athlone Stadium on Friday.
But the league leaders made heavy work of their assignments against their National First Division opponents at the same venue where just 48 hours earlier top flight team Polokwane City had been knocked out by NFD strugglers Ubuntu Cape Town.
Percy Tau scored the only goal on the half hour mark after a brilliant through ball from the new Uruguayan signing Leandro Sirino.
“We knew we’d eventually break them down and get our chances,” said Tau, who could have scored more but missed a good chance in the final 10 minutes.
It was a harsh lesson for the lower league side who had two sitters after the break to take the lead but saw Lucky Setelele miss and then Ntshuxeko Ndlovu conjour up an even wore miss, right in front of goal.
All Stars were not intimidated by their high-priced opponents and went toe-to-toe with them in passing the ball around the midfield and looking for decisive passes through to their top scorer Setelele.
Sundowns, at times, almost seem to sit back and let their hosts play.
But the league leaders did have their chances too but there was poor service for Jeremy Brockie and Themba Zwane looked a little rusty after missing out on recent game time.
Sundowns did rest several key players like Khama Billiat, Hlompho Kekana, Tebogo Langerman and Ricardo Nascimento but with Tau and Brockie upfront and Tiyani Mabunda in midfield were also showing respect to their NFD opponents, who were going into the match on the back of a six-match unbeaten run.
All Stars’ got caught only when Ntshuxeko Ndlovu tried to showboat in midfield and lost possession to allow Sundowns to launch quick turnover attacks, the best chance of which fell to Zwane in the 36th minute. But he was too slow in shooting and had the ball taken away at the crucial by Richardo Ndiki.
It was more open after the break with tars left to rue those two sitters when Tau eventually broke the deadlock.
That also dented the home side’s spirit and Tau and then Sirino could have added to the scoreline and sent Sundowns home with an even bigger winning margin.
“For a team like Sundowns, we are expected to fight to win any trophy on offer,” said assistant coach Manqoba Mngqithi, taking the place of suspended Pitso Mosimane, who sat in the stands.