Downs win seven-goal classic
Teko Modise (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - An entertaining night's football at the Athlone Stadium ended in a 5-2 win for Mamelodi Sundowns over Santos in their Premiership clash on Wednesday.
Downs scored twice before the break, and while the hosts hit back to draw level, three quickfire goals in the final 15 minutes ensured the three points for the Tshwane outfit.
Santos looked tentative in their approach early on, not showing much attacking intent and appearing a team low on confidence.
Sundowns, on the other hand, were lively and took the lead after 11 minutes when Richard Henyekane beat Pere Ariweriyai down the left before playing in a perfect cross for Nyasha Mushekwi, who buried his header emphatically.
Four minutes later and Hlompho Kekena put in a dangerous cross for Mushekwi, who was lurking at the back post, but this time Ariweriyai was up to the task with a good defensive header.
However, the large contingent of Sundowns fans did not have to wait too long for their next celebration as captain Teko Modise curled a free kick around the wall and into the net in the 25th minute.
Modise was looking back to somewhere near his best form and was an instrumental figure in the centre of the park as Downs went on to dominate the remainder of the half, though they did not pose any further major threats to the home defence.
With Vuyisile Wana on as a substitute, Santos were in far more control after the break and had two near chances through Eleazar Rodgers and Wana, both saved by Wayne Sandilands.
But the Cape side were back in the game in the 51st minute when Rodgers found space at the back post and sent Tawonga Chimodzi's cross into the roof of the net from eight yards out.
The match remained evenly balanced until Santos struck again in the 65th minute as Wana made it 2-2 with his third goal of the season.
Wana profited from Tyren Arendse's hopeful ball up-field and took advantage of Clayton Daniels and Sandilands' hesitancy as he superbly lobbed the ball into an empty net from long range.
With 16 minutes to go, however, the Brazilians surged ahead again when Katlego Mphela nodded the ball into the path of Themba Zwane, the youngster firing a superb low drive into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
The result was put beyond doubt in the 80th minute when Mphela's persistence saw him forcing the ball off Motsoeneng before tapping home from close range after a goalmouth scramble.
There was still time for a fifth, though, as Mphela showed his class, bursting into the box and curling the ball with the outside of his right foot past Motsoeneng.