Mphela heads 'Downs to victory
Katlego Mphela (Backpage)
Atteridgeville - Mamelodi Sundowns ended their four-match winless streak on Sunday afternoon, after they beat Black Leopards 1-0, in a Premiership clash at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.
The victory, courtesy of a first half Katelgo Mphela goal - in the Bafana Bafana international's first league start of the season - handed newly-appointed coach Pitso Mosimane his first win in charge, while Mphela scored his first goal of the Premiership campaign.
The Brazilians headed into the clash on the back of a 1-1 away draw with Free State Stars in their midweek encounter, while Leopards and Amazulu played out to the same scoreline in Polokwane, also in midweek.
After a lively opening quarter, the sides settled down and the hosts found their rhythm, with Mphela breaking the deadlock in the 23rd minute of the encounter.
Nyasha Mushekwi started a flowing Sundowns movement, before beating his man on the edge of the Leopards area and finding the head of Mphela with a pinpoint delivery, as the striker applied the finishing touches, beating goalkeeper Ayanda Mtshali from close-range.
Sundowns narrowly missed out on doubling their lead 10 minutes later, when Mushekwi tested Mtshali from inside the 6-yard area, after a dangerous ball into the area was nudged on by Mushekwi, but failed to beat the shot-stopper, who made a superb save to deny the hosts their second.
Leopards looked to up the tempo heading toward the interval, with half-chances falling to Rodney Ramagalela, Mahlatse Maake and Siphamandla Sithole, but Sundowns held firm at the back, allowing the Brazilians to take their advantage into the break.
Downs came out into the second half looking to add to their lead, but were left frustrated by solid defence from Leopards, as Mushekwi, Mphela and Anthony Laffor
saw their efforts thwarted.
Laffor had the best chance of the half in the 66th minute, when a clinical counter-attack led by skipper Teko Modise allowed the Liberian striker to get a shot away, but pushed his shot wide of the far upright from the left of the field.
The victory lifts Sundowns further from the danger zone and into 13th position, with 14 points from as many fixtures. Teams:
Mamelodi Sundowns: Sandilands, Mwanjale Langerman, Mampuru (Mabaso 34’), Schut, Sangweni (Kekana 74‘), Pelembe, Laffor, Modise (Shongwe 83’), Mphela, Mushekwi,
Black Leopards: Mtshali, Khoza, Munganga, Maake, Nkambule, Bobe (Obaje 80’), Kwena (Dzaga 58’), Monama (Mongala 60’), Ramagalela, Sithole, Xakane