Billiat stars in Sundowns win
Pretoria - A goal and assist by Khama Billiat inspired Mamelodi Sundowns to a 2-1 victory over Bidvest Wits in an Absa Premiership encounter played at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria on Saturday evening.WRAP: PSL
Brazilians skipper Alje Schut opened the scoring on the night before Getaneh Kebede levelled matters for the hosts. Billiat scored in the 58th minute to make sure Downs remain unbeaten in the league.
Pitso Mosimane made three changes to the side that were held to a 2-2 draw by Ajax Cape Town in mid-week. Tebogo Langerman and Wayne Arendse were included in the starting 11 for the Brazilians while last season’s top scorer, Katlego Mashego also started from the onset. Teko Modise had to make do with a place on the bench.
Gavin Hunt made wholesale changes to the side that were gifted a point against AmaZulu in midweek. Getaneh Kebede, Ryan Chapman and Matthew Booth were amongst seven changes to the starting 11.
As expected the home side came out the stronger of the two sides with Zimbabwean duo Khama Billait and Cuthbert Malajila especially making the Wits back four sweat.
‘Downs deservedly took the lead in the 14th minute through centre back Alje Schut. The Dutchman beat his marker before heading home to bag his first goal of the campaign. Hunt though wouldn’t be pleased with his defence, as they were caught ball watching rather than picking up the Downs defenders run.
The goal seemed to wake up the Clever Boys who equalised a mere seven minutes later. Papy Faty’s shot was spilled by Kennedy Mweene into the path of Gataneh Kebede who made no mistake from close range.
Billiat and Malajila were causing the Wits defence all sorts of problems on the counter but some poor decision making paired with some superb goalkeeping kept the score line unchanged.
Despite all the positive play by either side for the rest of the half the teams entered the tunnel deadlocked at 1-1.
Mosimane’s side looked the more dangerous of the two during the first 45 but the Clever Boys also had their chances to have the lead at the break.
Mosimane seemed to have opted for a more defence approach after the interval as he replaced midfielder Dove Wome with Sibusiso Khumalo.
Wits came out strong after the break but it was the home side who squandered a great opportunity to regain the lead before finally doing so in the 58th minute.
Bryce Moon’s cross into the area somehow didn’t end up in the back of the net with a number of ‘Downs players seemingly running past the ball.
Billiat, though, didn’t make a mistake to net his first goal in the yellow of Sundowns. Bongani Zungu set up the Zimbabwean who at his second bite at the cherry found the back of the net.
‘Downs opted to sit back and weather the storm for the final 10 minutes of the game, opting to hit the Brazilians on the counter.
Both sides had opportunities to add to their tally on the night with Wits skipper Vilakazi notably missing a sitter in the final minutes, but the game ended 2-1 in the favour of the Brazilians.
For the time being the win moves ‘Downs to the summit of the table while the loss, which was the Clever Boys’ first of the season, moves them down into seventh spot.