Themba Zwane chipped in with a goal and assist as Mamelodi Sundowns beat Polokwane City 2-0 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville yesterday evening, to book their place in the Telkom Knockout quarterfinals.
Sundowns will next face Tshwane rivals SuperSport United for a place in the semifinals. Following an hour that failed to conjure any clear-cut chances, the newly crowned Caf Champions League champions turned on the style in five second-half minutes to pull clear of their opponents.
Pitso Mosimane largely stuck to the side that guided the Brazilians to a first continental crown with Asavela Mbekila, Thabo Nthethe, Tebogo Langerman, Hlompho Kekana, Tiyani Mabunda and Percy Tau all involved from the onset – having also done duty in Alexandria in Egypt on Sunday.
One man who was not involved for Sundowns in the Caf Champions League was Yannick Zakri, with the Ivorian seeing his powerful shot blocked – the rebound favourable for Hlompho Kekana with the skipper driving his shot wide on 11 minutes.
Jabulani Maluleke looked Rise and Shine’s most likely outlet and after he saw his shot flash wide on 33 minutes, he came close to grabbing the opener on the hour mark.
The former SuperSport United midfielder was denied by Kennedy Mweene, who got across well to his right to make a good save.
The yellow machine finally started firing with Zwane’s introduction.
A flowing move – sparked by Tau – finished off powerfully by Kekana in the 65th minute following a neat pass by the former Mpumalanga Black Aces midfielder, who had just made his way onto the park.
Provider turned scorer soon after as Zwane capped off a swift move down the right flank – Thapelo Morenoa putting it on a silver platter for his teammate who made no mistake from close range.
The defending TKO champions showed their class to advance into the next round of the competition to the delight of “Jingles” and his technical team.
Quarterfinal draw: Mamelodi Sundowns vs SuperSport United Baroka FC vs Cape Town City FC Orlando Pirates vs Highlands Park Kaizer Chiefs vs Free State Stars