Jeremy Brockie ended his goaldrought to help Mamelodi Sundowns claim a 3-1 victory over Free State Stars at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Wednesday, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.
Pitso Mosimane’s men came into this encounter eager for a win after suffering a shock 2-0 defeat at the hands of Baroka in the Telkom Knockout quarter-final over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Luc Eymael’s side were forced to share the spoils with Black Leopard after playing to a 1-1 in their previous game at the Thohoyandou Stadium on 28 October.
The Brazilians came out guns blazing in the opening exhanges of the game and looked the more likelier side to broke the deadlock early on.
Sundowns eventually managed to open the scoring after 11 minutes when Jeremy Brockie opened his account for the home side with his volley from inside the area.
The home side were then awarded a penalty in the 24th minute when Bangaly Keita brought down Aubrey Ngoma in the area. Gaston Sirino stepped up and made no mistake from the spot kick.
Mosimane’s men then extended their lead even further three minutes later after Sirino unleashed a stunning strike from distance to find the back of the net.
At the other end, Stars managed to pull a goal back after 36 minutes when Harris Tchilimbou latched on to Judas Moseamedi’s cut back to tap the ball into the net, 3-1.
With half time looming, Lyle Lakay forced Sangare into making a reflex save to deny his effort.
Sundowns managed to hold on to their 3-1 lead over Ea Lla Koto as the game went into the half time break.
The Brazilians picked up where they left off in the first half and continued their surge in the second, while Stars bacline struggled to deal with the Sundowns attack.
Hlompho Kekeana had a chnace to extend his sides lead even further when he unleashed a dangerous strike at goal, but Sangare was well positioned to deny the Sundowns captain.
The Ea Lla Koto shot-stopper came to his sides rescue again in the 66th minute when he produced a fine save to deny Brockie’s effort from inside the area after he was picked out by Sirino.
Sirino proved to be a constant threat for the Stars backline as he was eager to complete his hatrick when he looked to curl his effort into the far corner from range, but Sangare was once again made the save to deny the winger in the 76th minute.
Thr Uruguayan winger had another opportunity to score after 82 minutes, but the Stars keeper was up for the challenge.
Stars were then reduced to 10-men when Nkiko Mobbie was shown his marching orders in injury time for his second yellow card of the night.
The visitors were forced to finish the game with a man less, but Sundowns managed to hold on to their 3-1 lead until the final whistle to claim all three points.
Take a look at how both sides lined up:
Mamelodi Sundowns Starting XI: Pieterse, Morena, Madisha, Lebusa, Lakay, Jali, Kekana, Maboe, Ngoma, Sirino, Brockie
Subs: Mweene, Mabunda, Ngongca, Meza, Arendse, Mahlambi, Zwane
Free State Stars Starting XI: Sangare, Mobbie, Makhaula, Mahamutsa, Phungwayo, Gandze, Keita, Dlamini, Jantjie, Tchilimbou, Moseamedi
Subs: Mbambo, Matlakala, Masina, Tema, Jappie, Mbhele, Maruping