Mamelodi Sundowns cut Orlando Pirates’ lead to three points at the top of the Absa Premiership table after a 2-1 win over 10-man Baroka at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Downs came into the game looking to bounce back from their mid-week defeat to SuperSport United that saw them stuck six points behind Pirates.
Pitso Mosimane’s men had two games in hand on their title rivals, though, with the match against Baroka one of those fixtures. Sundowns were targeting nothing less than three points to close the gap at the top of the table.
Baroka, on the other hand, even while fighting for their Absa Premiership lives would have been buoyed by their 1-0 win over Kaizer Chiefs last time out.
Sundowns started the game well and came close to open the scoring in the 10th minutes when Sibusiso Vilakazi linked up with Lebohang Maboe, whose shot was well saved by Baroka goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze.
Five minutes later Downs had another effort on goal as Thapelo Morena let fly from long range, but Chipezeze made a routine save.
Sundowns then dominated possession, but were finding it hard to break down the home side. This lasted until the 37th minute, when Vilikazi was brought down in the box and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
Ricardo Nascimento stepped up and calmly slotted home the spot-kick to fire his side into the lead.
1-0 at the break as the defending champions continued to show fight in their bid to retain their crown.
Baroka came out fighting in the second half as Onkabetse Makgantai restored parity in the 52nd minute, firing past Kennedy Mweene after being well-found in the box.
It didn’t take long for the Brazilians to hit back, though, as a short five minutes later Themba Zwane was picked out after a well-timed run into the box before he thundered his shot into the back of the net to hand Sundowns the lead.
Zwane then forced Chipezeze into a brilliant save in the 74th minute with the visitors giving as good as they were getting. The game then took a major shift when Rodwell Chinyengetere was handed his marching orders for a stamp on Hlompo Kekana.
Kekana was forced off after the tackle, but Sundowns saw out the remaining 15 minutes to cut Pirates’ lead down to three points at the top of the table.
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