Mamelodi Sundowns got their title defence up and running with a 2-0 win over rivals SuperSport United in their Absa Premiership opener on Saturday afternoon.
Sundowns came into the game looking to get their title defence off to a good start, although coach Pitso Mosimane admitted pre-match that his side always start slowly and that he was expecting more of the same heading into the Tshwane derby opener.
SuperSport, though, were feeling buoyant at the start of the season and the encounter against their cross-town rivals, with Kaitano Tembo looking to build on a solid first full season at the club.
In a tight start to the game both teams battled to gain control of possession, but it was Tembo’s charges who applied the early pressure.
Downs, though, had the first attempt on goal as Hlompho Kekana let fly from range in the 16th minute, but his effort was spectacularly tipped on to the bar by Ronwen Williams.
It didn’t take Masdawana much longer to take the lead as Sibusiso Vilakazi received the ball in space 30 yards out, before he rifled his shot off the underside of the bar with the ball crossing over the line and the linesman awarding the goal.
VILAKAZI SCORES A STUNNER
Sibusiso Vilakazi bagged the opening goal of @Masandawana’s season with a brilliant, left-footed long range effort. There’s just something about the #AbsaPrem and opening weekends pic.twitter.com/5aVbPcwLvU
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) August 3, 2019
Tembo’s men almost hit back instantly as the ball fell to Bradley Grobler in the Downs box, but his effort was well stopped by Dennis Onyango on the Sundowns goalline.
Both sides could not find a way to goal in the remainder of the half with Downs taking a 1-0 lead into the break.
Mosimane’s charges looked to double their lead early in the second half as Kekana had another long-range effort well saved by Williams.
SuperSport then looked to get back into the game as new signings Thamsanqa Gabuza and Kudakwashe Mahachi linked up before forcing Onyango into another top save.
SuperSport were threatening from set plays and came close in the 77th minute, where the ball fell at the feet of Grobler and he forced Onyango into a good save before Mahachi fired the rebound wide.
Try as they might, Matsatsantsa couldn’t find a way back into the game and with the clock running down, Sundowns caught their opponents on the break with Themba Zwane coolly slotting past Williams to secure the three points and give Sundowns the 2-0 victory.
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