Absa Premiership

Sundowns claim hard-fought win over Dikwena

2017-02-21 22:11
Anthony Laffor (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns extended their unbeaten run in the Premiership to six matches as they beat Platinum Stars 2-1 in the pouring rain at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Tuesday.

Sundowns adapted quickly to the wet conditions under foot and created their first chance after just six minutes when Tau beat his marker on the left to surge into the box and force Mbongeni Mzimela to save at his feet.

Bangaly Soumahoro was then presented with an opportunity two minutes later as he connected with Billiat's free-kick on the left to head wide at the back post.

The visitors made the breakthrough soon afterwards, with Fares Hachi played in on the left by Billiat and sending in a pin-point cutback for Zwane to score from eight yards out on 11 minutes.

Hlompho Kekana went close to extending Downs' lead just two minutes later as he lashed a shot inches wide of the left post from 20 yards out after being teed up by Billiat.

Tau almost capped off a swift counter when Kekana won the ball back in the opposition half on the quarter-hour mark and Anthony Laffor sent the winger through on goal, but his clipped effort brushed the outside of the right post.

Laffor should have made it 2-0 on 21 minutes after Tau's brilliant pass from the left found him in the six-yard box, but the ball struck him on the thigh and was gathered on the line by Mzimela.

Gerald Phiri came to Stars' rescue in the 27th minute with a sliding block at the near post to deny Billiat, who had been played in on goal on the left by Laffor.

The defending champions continued to pour forward and Hachi's accurate cross from the left saw Anele Ngcongca head the ball back across goal and past the left post on 34 minutes, before Tau fired over from outside of the area on the right moments later after cutting inside.

It wasn't all Sundowns, though, as Dikwena did show plenty of attacking intent, but their final ball was lacking. Bongi Ntuli managed to threaten on 38 minutes, through, creating space for a shot with good control and switching onto his left foot before firing over the crossbar from the edge of the box.

Masandawana looked for something from the training ground three minutes before half-time when Billiat found Kekana lurking just ouside the area with a corner, but the midfielder's strike was comfortable for Mzimela. 

Cavin Johnson's men made a fast start to the second half as Robert N'gambi fired over the bar with a rushed shot, and they were back in the contest four minutes in when Mlilo got to Vuyo Mere's free-kick ahead of Denis Onyango to head home from six yards out.

They were buoyed by the equaliser and Ryan De Jongh tried his luck from distance in the 53rd minute, but his shot sailed well over the target. The hosts continued to put pressure on Downs' defence and nearly capitalised on a sloppy ball out when Sehlolo Nale hit the side-netting from a tight angle on the right after his cross rebounded back to him.

The Brazilians' first real chance of note after the break saw Tau time his jump well from Thapelo Morena's right-wing cross to steer his header just over the bar in the 70th minute, but Dikwena were asking questions again at the other end soon afterwards as Gift Links forced Onyango to parry his firm shot over from the left.

However, Sundowns restored their lead six minutes from with from a slick passing move as Billiat collected the ball 25 yards out and played a one-two with Tau before firing into the bottom-left corner from inside the box.

Billiat was denied his brace by a fine save from Mzimela in stoppage time after being played in by Tau as Downs hit Stars on the counter following a corner at the other end.

Read more on:    platinum stars  |  psl  |  anthony laffor  |  soccer


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