Mamelodi underline dominance over derby rivals SuperSport
Hlompho Kekana’s 83rdminute goal propelled Mamelodi Sundowns to a deserved 1-0 win against SuperSport United and underlined their dominance over their Pretoria rivals Of the four Tshwane derbies this season, Sundowns have won three, but in the context of their now revitalised title defence, this could be their most important win yet.
After a dry spell, this was their third successive league win and they moved to 44 points in the process.
There was none of the spunk and the finesse that punctuated their last meeting, but Sundowns were asked to grind out a win.
Like they did against Free State Stars in Orkney on Sunday, they responded in the affirmative and dented SuperSport’s league chances in the process.
Having not won a league game since their 1-0 win against Highlands Park on February 25, it was imperative for SuperSport to get maximum points.
They have not won in five matches and with the teams above them having breached 40 points, Stuart Baxter may look back at this period as the one where his team’s title challenge fizzled out.
It was always going to be difficult for the sides to reproduce their pyrotechnics but this was expected.
Sundowns were going to be hardpressed to put another five past Baxter’s side, but through the course of the game displayed why they were the better side.
They were more comfortable in possession, made the better attacking forays and made sure their rock-solid defence was not punctured.
Unlike last week’s bloodletting, where they were three down inside 26 minutes, SuperSport were better organised defensively.
With Ronwen Williams back in goal, SuperSport were far more assured and trusting of their last line of defence.
Reyaad Pieterse was not to blame for the Loftus Versfeld hammering but there was always a feeling he could have and should have done better with some of the goals.
He was one of three changes from the side that was embarrassed on Easter Thursday.
The back four that Sundowns surgically dissected was kept but through keeping numbers behind the ball, they were able to apply the tourniquet that was missing in the earlier fixture.
While the second half was a tactical chess match that would have delighted midfield purists, the flood of goals was not forthcoming.
Uncharacteristically, Sundowns were being blunted by SuperSport’s massed defence.
Kekana was a constant thorn throughout the game and when he was on the end of Teko Modise’s freekick, it was due reward for his diligence.
ý Cape Town City came back after conceding an early goal to force a 1-1 draw with Bidvest Wits at the Cape Town Stadium last night, as Tshepo Gumede scored his first goal to keep them at the top of the table.
Phakamani Mahlambi’s early penalty gave Wits the perfect start, but City reconfirmed their title credentials as they fought back.
They still have a one-point advantage but have played two matches more than Wits.
In the other match, Polokwane City beat Platinum Stars 1-0. – Additional reporting by Mark Gleeson