Gaston Sirino scored a delightful first half goal to fire Mamelodi Sundowns to a tight 1-0 win over Chippa United in their Absa Premiership encounter at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium on Saturday evening.
Sundowns would have been confident coming into the game after their 1-0 victory against Bloemfontein Celtic in the round-of-16 in the Telkom Knockout saw the Brazilians get back to winning ways after a couple of draws with Phunya Sele Sele and Bidvest Wits in the Absa Premiership.
Chippa on the other hand would have been desperate for any sort of result against the defending champions after Eric Tinkler’s men suffered back-to-back defeats against Highlands Park in the league and Orlando Pirates in the Telkom Knockout.
Pitso Mosimane’s men got off to the perfect start as Gaston Sirino opened the scoring in the ninth minute with an outstanding curling shot from just outside the box into the top corner.
The Brazilians then proceeded to sit back and allow their opponents to keep possession as they looked to catch the Chilli Boys on counter-attacks.
The next big chance, however, fell to the Masandawana but Andlie Jali failed to double the lead after being left unmarked at the back post with 27minutes gone.
Despite all their possession Chippa struggled to create any openings of note until Andile Mbenyane thought he grabbed the equaliser two minutes before the break after slotting home at the back post. The linesman, however, raised his flag and the goal was ruled out for offside.
Sundowns leading 1-0 at the break, but the game still lay firmly in the balance.
The game quickly fell into the same pattern as the first half with, the Chilli Boys having lots of the ball and the visitors threatening on the break.
Chippa continued to push forward as the second half progress but struggled to pose any real threat to Dennis Onyango’s goal.
Mosimane’s men ultimately managed to hold onto their slender lead and claim all three points after a hard-fought encounter at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium.