Sundowns open four-point lead

Sundowns open four-point lead
Khama Billiat of mamelodi Sundowns score a goal pass Darren Keet of Bidvest Wits during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 football match between Bidvest Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns at Bidvest Stadium, Johannesburg on 21 November 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Saturday Jan 20, 2018. 20:01

Mamelodi Sundowns opened up a four-point lead at the head of the Absa Premiership standings thanks to a 3-0 home win over Platinum Stars on Saturday evening.

The Brazilians claimed the victory at Loftus Versfeld thanks to a brilliant strike from open play by Sibusiso Vilakazi and two great free-kick goals from the returning Khama Billiat.

Sundowns started the stronger of the two teams and created a few half-chances for the likes of Percy Tau and Khama Billiat in the opening quarter hour. And it was no surprise when the Tshwane team claimed the lead on 22 minutes, though the goal itself was an exceptional strike from Sibusiso Vilakazi.

The attacking midfielder picked up the ball just inside the Stars half, drove forward and ended with a perfectly-hit curler into the top corner which gave goalkeeper Dino Visser no chance whatsoever.

And the gloves-man was helpless again 10 minutes later when Khama Billiat doubled Sundowns’ advantage, sending a superb strike direct from a free kick just inside Visser’s right-hand post.

In the 37th minute Billiat added another goal, again direct from a free kick in a very similar position. This time the Zimbabwean’s strike was touched onto the underside of the crossbar by Visser’s fingertips, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the score ticking over to 3-0.

Stars responded by making changes either side of half time, sending on both Robert Ng’ambi and Bongi Ntuli, but they created little in attack and rarely troubled Sundowns’ defence.

The Brazilians went off the boil compared to their scintillating first-half showing, and not even the introduction of three new signings as second-half substitutes - Aubrey Ngoma, Gaston Sirino and Jeremy Brockie - could put them back in top gear.

But having already done the hard work, ‘Downs were able to coast home and claim three well-earned points.

Mamelodi Sundowns (3) 3 (Vilakazi 22’, Billiat 32’ 37’)

Platinum Stars 0

Sundowns: Onyango, Madisha, Soumahoro, Nascimento, Langerman, T. Zwane (Brockie 81’), Manyisa, Mabunda, Billat (Ngoma 63’), Vilakazi (Sirino 72’), Tau

Stars: Visser, Mere, Mthethwa, Sithole, Mpeta, Mekoa (De Jongh 83’), Mbatha (Ng’ambi 44’), Msomi, Mkhabela (Ntuli 46’), Rambuwane, Koapeng

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