Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns got their 2017/18 Absa Premiership campaign off to a winning start as they defeated Tshwane rivals SuperSport United 2-0 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Goals from Hlompho Kekana and Themba Zwane took the Brazilians to a deserved three points and saw them shrug off last weekend’s shock exit from the MTN8 at the hands of Maritzburg United.
Both teams took their time settling into the game, but the chances began to flow at either end of the field once the midway point of the first half had passed.
Sundowns’ Khama Billiat saw his goal-bound shot brilliantly blocked by Clayton Daniels on 25 minutes, while shortly thereafter Bradley Grobler almost caught goalkeeper Denis Onyango in possession near his goal line.
Just past the half hour mark United almost claimed the lead through advancing fullback Aubrey Modiba, who struck a left-footed effort from long range which skimmed the top of the crossbar.
On 33 minutes the Brazilians broke the deadlock with a well-taken goal. Billiat squared the ball for Hlompho Kekana, who had just enough space to squeeze a low shot beyond Ronwen Williams’ right hand to make it 1-0.
In injury time at the end of the first half, ‘Downs fans were incensed when Percy Tau went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Reneilwe Letsholonyane, only for referee Victor Gomes to wave away the visitors’ appeals.
Yet the Brazilians didn’t have to wait long in the second half to extend their lead to 2-0, with Billiat dispossessing Daniels before feeding Themba Zwane, who scored a superb solo goal with a low shot which beat Williams at his near post.
United looked to fight their way back into the game and on 63 minutes Grobler got on the end of Thuso Phala’s free kick and sent a header goal-wards, only to be denied by a fingertip save from Onyango.
But any hope the hosts had of a comeback were crushed just over 10 minutes later when captain Dean Furman was sent off for a second bookable offence, reducing United to 10 men.
Both teams will be in league action again in midweek, with Sundowns at home to Baroka on Tuesday and SuperSport away to Kaizer Chiefs on Wednesday.