Mamelodi Sundowns maintain pressure with commanding win
Mamelodi Sundowns showed no signs of throwing in the towel in the title race, dispatching Polokwane City 3-0 at Loftus Versfeld last night. The outcome also meant Polokwane will finish at position 15 at most.
With leaders Kaizer Chiefs managing a 1-0 win over over Chippa United in a synchronised tie, Downs remain second as Amakhosi still have a better goal difference though the two sides are level on 56 points, heading into the ultimate round of fixtures on Saturday.
Downs scored two goals in the first-half. On target were Anele Ngcongca and Themba Zwane. Ali Meza came off the bench to add a third late on.
Sundowns made wholesale changes in their starting line-up from their frustrating 0-1 defeat to Baroka last Sunday. A few senior players, who missed the Baroka loss were drafted back into the XI.
Ricardo Nascimento, who was on the bench with Mosa Lebusa playing against Baroka, returned to partner Motjeka Madisha at the heart of defense.
At left-back Tebogo Langerman took Lyle Lakay’s slot, while Rivaldo Coetzee replaced Andile Jali in the engine room, pairing up with skipper Hlompho Kekana.
Polokwane didn’t start the match like a team fighting relegation. The bottom-placed outfit looked comfortable to sit back and allow pressure from Sundowns, with Promise Mkhuma, Zwane and Gaston Sirino causing all sorts of troubles to put the Polokwane rearguard under pressure.
Rise and Shine defended very deep but they managed a few counter-attacks, thanks to the agility of Vusimuzi Mngomezulu and Sibusiso Hlubi on the left and right flank respectively.
Most of Polokwane’s attempts were ruined by poor decision-making such as passing instead of shooting and vice versa. Downs keeper Kennedy Mweene was also equal to the task whenever he was called to action.
Sundowns’ superiority would paid off just six minutes before the end of the regulation time of the initial stanza when Ngcongca pounced on Nascimento’s rebound. It was the former Bafana Bafana right-back’s first goal in SA top-flight.
The defending champions doubled their lead four minutes later via Zwane after Mkhuma and Sirino had played brilliant one-twos to unlock the Polokwane deference. Zwane found himself in the box and picked his spot to beat Rise and Shine keeper George Chigova.
Polokwane 0, Sundowns 3; Chiefs 1, Chippa 0; Highlands Park 1, Cape Town City 0; SuperSport 4, Baroka 1; Maritzburg 0, Pirates 1; Arrows 0, Celtic 0; Wits 0, Black Leopards 1; Stellenbosch 1, AmaZulu 1
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