Sundowns open title defence with comfortable win

Sundowns open title defence with comfortable win
Themba Zwane of Mamelodi Sundowns celebrates goal with teammates during the DSTV Premiership 2020/21 match between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on the 24 October 2020 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Saturday Oct 24, 2020. 18:00

Reigning South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns struck an early blow in the DStv Premiership title race as they defeated last season’s runners-up, Kaizer Chiefs, 3-0 at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.


The Brazilians romped to the opening-day victory thanks to goals from Peter Shalulile, Kermit Erasmus and Themba Zwane, with the Amakhosi left worried at their own lack of potency and coherence.


Chiefs had the first chance to open the scoring just three minutes into the game, with Khama Billiat firing off a volley which required a sharp save from ‘Downs goalkeeper Dennis Onyango.


The Tshwane side settled into the game and began to test out their hosts’ defence with some probing passing, while Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune had a couple of nervy moments – in particular a poor clearance midway through the half which would have cost a goal were it not for a fine recovery from Ramahlwe Mphahlele.


Khune continued to look unconvincing and he was punished in the 37th minute, coming off his line and flapping at a corner kick which hit the shoulder of Peter Shalulile and somewhat fortuitously looped into the net to give the Brazilians the lead.


Sundowns remained 1-0 ahead up to the half-time whistle, with the visitors just about justifying their lead with superior control and ambition. Chiefs, at the start of the second half, withdrew the booked Willard Katsande and replaced him with Njabulo Blom in midfield.


Yet ‘Downs continued to boss the game and claimed a second goal in the 54th minute. Themba Zwane was put in on goal and Khune did well initially to deny the midfielder, but the rebound fell kindly for Kermit Erasmus, who arrowed a low shot into the bottom corner for 2-0.


A third goal for ‘Downs looked on the cards when Zwane again got in behind the hosts’ defence, but he was denied by a brilliant recovery tackle from Daniel Cardoso which just about kept the Amakhosi in the contest.


But aside from a close-range effort from Billiat which was well saved by Onyango, Chiefs never really threatened a comeback and Sundowns were able to add to their advantage in the 89th minute when Zwane struck home a penalty – with the spot kick earned by former Amakhosi player George Maluleka.


The teams will return to DStv Premiership action this coming midweek, with Chiefs away to Chippa United on Tuesday 27 October and Sundowns hosting Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila the following day.


Kaizer Chiefs 0


Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 3 (Shalulile 37’, Erasmus 54’, Zwane 89’ pen)


Chiefs: Khune, Frosler (Lesako 74’), Cardoso, Mphahlele, Sasman, Ngcobo, Katsande (Blom 46’), Manyama (Ntshangase 62’), Parker (Mashiane 62’), Billiat, Castro (Sifama 74’)


Sundowns: Onyango, Morena (Mudau 77’), Nascimento, Madisha, Lakay, Coetzee, Kekana (Maluleka 71’), Jali, Zwane, Shalulile (Domingo 71’), Erasmus (Maboe 56’)







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