Downs dominance over Bucs give them 1-0 advantage
Costa scored the only goal of the match
At Orlando Stadium
Lucas Costa scored the only goal of the match from the spot kick in the 11th minute to give his side a victory and their six in succession over the Buccaneers in league matches.
The result also means Sundowns have equalled a record of Kaizer Chiefs 31 games without a defeat in 2005.
The last time Sundowns lost was in September 2022 when they went down 2-1 to SuperSport United. They also equalled Chiefs record of winning their eight games at the start of the season.
Both teams had surprise starters in their teams. In the absence of suspended Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo, Pirates coach Jose Riveiro started with Sephelo Baloni in his place, while Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena handed Sipho Mbule his first start this season.
Sundowns started brightly with Pirates, who looked nervy earlier on sat back and were caucius. Sundowns efforts were rewarded in the 11th minute when they won a penalty after Themba Zwane was hacked down in the penalty area by Baloni.
Ribeiro converted from the spot kick to give Sundowns a lead and score his seventh goal of the season across all competitions.
Sundowns continued with their dominance as they searched for a second goal, while Pirates could not cope with the high press Masandawana applied when they lost possession.
The Brazilians rotation of the ball was good as they were combining well going forward and this was also due to the fact that Pirates were allowing them to play and didn’t press.
In form Zakhele Lepasa was kept quiet and Sundowns also did well to close the supply to him with Patrick Maswanganyi, Monnapule Saleng and Relebihile Mofokeng finding it difficult to penetrate them.
As a result, the Buccaneers didn’t create any clear cut chance in the opening half let alone have a shot on goal. But despite Sundowns dominance in the first half, they could create more chances despite finding gaps behind Pirates' defence.
Pirates looked better in the second half as they came back with more energy but could not create clear cut chances. They put Sundowns under pressure but they dealt with everything Pirates threw at them.
Mokwena refreshed the team in the second half by bringing in attacking midfielders Junior Mendieta, Thapelo Maseko and Thapelo Morena. Riveiro introduced Deon Hotto and Lesedi Kapinga and brought new life in their attack
But one thing Sundowns have mastered well is how to manage the game once they take a lead and did that well.
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