Pretoria - Platinum Stars got their defence of the MTN8 title off to a perfect
start on Saturday afternoon, comfortably beating Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1
at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
Skipper Vuyo Mere netted from the
penalty spot just seven minutes in, before Ndumiso Mabena added a
second shortly after to leave Sundowns with a mountain to climb by
Teko Modise’s tame free-kick effort deep into the
second half pulled one back for the home side but it was not enough as
Stars walked away victorious and got their season off to a promising
Sundowns, defending Premiership champions, made a return
to the top eight competition after missing out last season, while Stars
progress into the semifinals and continue to prove their pedigree in the
country’s premier knockout competition.
Stars’ hard work at the
top end of the half paid off from the first whistle as Mduduzi Nyanda
was brought down inside the area by Tebogo Langerman, who was too slow
and committed a reckless foul on six minutes, which drew few complaints
from the home side.
Mere stepped up and made no mistake from the
spot, handing Stars the early lead over their big-spending counterparts,
who had no fewer than four new signings in their matchday team of 18.
went from bad to worse for the hosts eight minutes later when Mabena
doubled Dikwena’s lead, following a superb pass from midfield, which
unlocked the Sundowns defence and allowed Mabena to slot home from a
With little in the way of goal-mouth action heading
Sundowns way, the match was brought to an extraordinary halt on the
half-hour mark when a swarm of bees, which had gathered on a microphone
behind Stars goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane, forced referee Thando
Ndzandzeka to stop the game and order the bees to be removed.
into additional time, Sundowns finally had their best chance of the
half, but Anthony Laffor failed to direct his header on target and went
just wide of the upright following a superb delivery from Teko Modise.
at the break, Sundowns boss Pitso Mosimane changed Katlego Mashego for
Bonginkosi Ntuli, after a disappointing first period.
involved from the start and played his part but still Sundowns failed to
inspire in front of goal and struggled to make their mark inside the
Modise gave some relief to the home crowd when he managed to
reduce the deficit and bagged a goal from the set-piece, following a
defensive lapse which cost Mpontshane a clean-sheet.
But that was
as far as it would go for the league champions, who bow out of the top
eight and will now focus their attention elsewhere.