Mamelodi Sundowns produced a clinical performance to run out 3-0 winners over Polokwane City, now heading into the final game of the season level on points with Kaizer Chiefs at the top of the Absa Premiership with only goal difference separating the challengers.
Pitso Mosimane’s charges came into the game targeting all three points in the hope that a slip-up by title rivals Kaizer Chiefs would have them top the table by the end of the evening.
Polokwane, though, were just as desperate for the three points as they look to claw themselves off the bottom of the table and towards safety with several teams still in contention to go down.
As expected, Downs from the onset dominated possession while Rise and Shine looked to sit back, soak up pressure and hit on the counter-attack.
Polokwane City’s low block was causing Sundowns some frustration early on, but Mosimane’s charges continued to push forward in search of the all-important opening goal.
That goal eventually came in the 39th minute as Downs capitalised from a corner kick. Gaston Sirino whipped in a cross which was met by Ricardo Nascimento, and the defender’s effort forced George Chigova into a reaction save but the rebound fell straight at the feet of Anele Ngcongca who made no mistake in rifling home.
Five minutes later, Downs saw their lead doubled through a moment of magic from Themba Zwane. The midfielder glided effortlessly past the Polokwane defenders before firing into the bottom corner.
At the break, Downs were in control of the game.
Rise and Shine came out fighting in the second half as they looked to keep their hopes of survival alive, but were not going to find it easy against a determined Sundowns side.
Sirino continued to threaten from set plays with his dangerous deliveries while also proving a threat from open play, as both teams looked for the vital next goal.
Mosimane turned to his bench to keep things fresh, bringing on Ali Meeza, Lyle Lakay and Keletso Makgalwa.
The Brazilians used all their championship know-how to hold on to the two-goal lead until eventually Makgalwa was sent through by Meeza, keeping his cool and calmly finishing to earn a 3-0 win and cut into Chiefs’ goal difference.
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