Mamelodi Sundowns edged SuperSport United 2-1, thanks to first-half strikes from Lebohang Maboe and Lyle Lakay. SoccerClub writer DEAN WORKMAN has picked out five things we learned from the encounter.
1) Sundowns beginning to click into gear
With the exits of Percy Tau and Khama Billiat, Downs struggled for offensive cohesion at the start of the season, and as a result they struggled to score goals.
The first half against SuperSport, however, was arguably their best attacking display of the campaign, with Jermey Brockie, Themba Zwane, Gaston Sirino and Lebohang Maboe all linking up with each other to great effect.
It was 2-0 to the Brazilians at half-time, but it really could have been a lot more.
2) Rivaldo Coetzee’s return a big boost for Masandawana
After a failed move to Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic, Coetzee moved for big money from Ajax Cape Town to Sundowns.
The 22-year-old defender then went through a torrid time as a foot injury threatened to derail his career. The central defender, however, completed his comeback this week, earning his first start in the Absa Premiership for Sundowns a year after joining them.
Coetzee produced a top-class display on his league debut as he showcased all of the qualities of a top-class centre-back. He even had Mosimane raving about the potential the defender has and the quality he adds, both to Sundowns and even Bafana Bafana.
3) Tembo brave enough to make big calls
Kaitano Tembo’s team were 2-0 down inside 33 minutes and staring down the barrel. However instead of sitting back and accepting defeat, Tembo made two changes before the break, which really gave the home side more impetus heading into the second stanza.
Defender Richard Boateng was withdrawn and replaced by Onismor Bhasera, while Phumlani Ntshangase replaced Aubrey Modiba.
Modiba, in particular, gave Matsatsantsa an added dimension, and he went close to bringing one back from his team at the start of the second half when he rattled the post with a thunderous strike.
SuperSport later pulled one back through Morgan Gould and really pushed Sundowns to the final whistle, where in the past they may have wilted.
4) SuperSport missing Furman, Grobler
It was evident by the first-half performance at the Lucas Moripe Stadium that SuperSport miss the injured duo of Dean Furman and Bradley Grobler.
Tembo even admitted to as much in his post-game presser, highlighting Furman’s experience and composure in midfield, and Grobler’s ability to hold the ball up and bring his teammate into play, as two aspects which lacked from their game against Downs.
5) Pitso’s experience will prove vital
As Mamelodi Sundowns embark on yet another mammoth Caf Champions League campaign, it is clear that Mosimane’s experience knowing when and how to rotate his squad could prove a deciding factor over the next few months.
Sundowns and Mosimane have travelled this path over the last five years, with Caf commitments placing serious strain on the club’s league commitments as the players have to play two games within a week, not to mention the amount of travelling.
Mosimane knows that both Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs will, for the first time in a long time be in the same boat as the Brazilians, and whoever can handle this congested fixture schedule best will have a serious stab at the Absa Premiership crown.
Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
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