‘Downs close in on top of the log

‘Downs close in on top of the log
Leandro Sirino of Mamelodi Sundowns challenged by Lesedi Kapinga of Black Leopards during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Black Leopards at the Loftus Versveld Stadium, Pretoria on the 06 February 2019 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Wednesday Feb 06, 2019. 23:05

Mamelodi Sundowns eased to a 3-0 win over Black Leopards in an Absa Premiership match played at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Wednesday, closing to within touching distance of the top of the log.

The Brazilians are up to second spot and trail leaders Bidvest Wits by three points. They also have two games in hand, with this victory over Lidoda Duvha (who remain in 12th place after a second straight defeat) secured by a first-half strike from Lebohang Maboe, an own goal from Khomotso Masia and a late penalty from Ricardo Nascimento.

Sundowns dominated proceedings right from the off and they had no trouble in creating goal-scoring chances. However, putting them away proved far more problematic, with the hosts missing a flurry of opportunities.

Lebohang Maboe was particularly guilty, missing a free header in the second minute and a glaring chance right in front of goal 10 minutes before the break, while Themba Zwane also sent a shot off the top of the crossbar when he should have at least tested the goalkeeper.

The Brazilians finally broke the deadlock in the 41st minute: ‘Downs captain Hlompho Kekana won the ball off Mwape Musonda on the edge of his own box with a superb tackle and then sent a long diagonal to put Gaston Sirino in space down the left – the Uruguayan in turn provided a great cross with the outside of his foot and Maboe made up for his earlier misses with a cool finish.

Leopards looked to match their hosts for attacking intent, but their only genuine chance fell for Musonda early on and he saw a left-footed shot well saved by Kennedy Mweene. The Limpopo side also lost midfielder Tshwarelo Bereng to a hamstring injury within the opening half hour.

Sundowns led 1-0 at the break, and needed just under 10 minutes of the second half to double their advantage. This time Maboe went from scorer to provider, getting free down the right of the penalty area before playing a low cross which was turned into his own net by Leopards defender Khomoto Masia.

Late on the Tshwane side were awarded a penalty when Leopards defender Pentjie Zulu used his arms to block a shot from Zwane. Ricardo Nascimento took on the spot kick and converted in the 85th minute, completing the score at 3-0.

Sundowns will next be in CAF Champions League action when they face ASEC Mimosas in Abidjan next week Tuesday, while Leopards’ next clash will be against Bidvest Wits in the Nedbank Cup next weekend.

Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 3 (Maboe 41’, Masia og 54’, Nascimento 85’ pen)
Black Leopards 0

Sundowns: Mweene, Morena, Nascimento, Arendse, Lakay, Laffor (Ngcongca 62’), Kekana, Mabunda, Zwane, Sirino (Tade 89’), Maboe (Mahlambi 71’)

Leopards: K. Ndlovu, Katjiukua, Munganga, Masia, Zulu, Hlongwane, Bereng (Ngambi 28’), Mokoena, Mashoene (Mahangwahaya 59’), Kapinga, Musonda (Sekotlong 80’)



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