Absa Premiership

Vilakazi on the double for Sundowns win

2018-03-02 21:56
Sibusiso Vilakazi (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns extended their lead at the top of the Absa Premiership standings with a 3-1 victory over a spirited AmaZulu at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Friday

As it happened: AmaZulu v Mamelodi Sundowns

Ricardo Nascimento fired the Brazilians ahead with a 24th minute penalty, before Mhlengi Cele levelled with an indirect free-kick eight minutes from half-time.

Sibusiso Vilakazi then scored twice in 10 minutes after the break, the second a controversial goal that sparked angry reactions from the crowd as they pelted the visiting bench. But play eventually resumed as Pitso Mosimane's side held on for all three points.

The hosts took the game to Sundowns in Umlazi and enjoyed the better chances in an exciting first half.

Masandawana fashioned the first opening on 12 minutes, however, when Leandro Sirino did well in the final third to tee up Samuel Mabunda, who blazed over the crossbar from 25 yards out.

Usuthu went close moments later as Michael Morton's snapshot from inside the area was cleared off the line by Wayne Arendse, after Razak Brimah saved bravely at the feet of Cele at close range.

Downs then survived a double penalty appeal on 14 minutes when a cross into the box from the right struck both Thapelo Morena and Arendse on their arms.

Cele drew Brimah into a comfortable save with a strike from long range three minutes later, before Mabhuti Khenyeza lashed a free-kick over the target from 20 yards out in the 19th minute.

Tau was causing the home defence problems and his pace earned the Brazilians a spot-kick midway through the first half as Sadat Ouro-Akoriko brought him down from behind, after being played in on goal by Sirino.

Nascimento beat Boalefa Pule with a low penalty into the bottom-left corner, although the home keeper will feel he could've done better after the ball passed under his outstretched arm.

Khenyeza passed up a good chance to level matters on 29 minutes when his scuffed shot from eight yards out was held by Brimah following a fine cross from Sibusiso Mabiliso on the left.

Tau thought he had doubled the visitors' lead three minutes later after latching onto Tebogo Langerman's ball over the top of defence and slotting past Pule, but the flag was raised for offside.

However, an error in judgment from Brimah let the Duran outfit back in on 35 minutes when he handled a back-pass to present them with an indirect free-kick from eight yards out on the left that was drilled home by Cele.

Langerman squandered a golden opportunity to put Sundowns back in front eight minutes later as he fired over from 10 yards out after racing onto Mabunda's well-weighted through-ball.

The half finished with a flurry of action as Cele directed a weak header straight at Brimah from Morton's dangerous cross on the right, while at the other end Pule pulled off a sharp save to prevent Themba Zwane from coverting Vilakazi's through-ball.

Downs wasted little time in getting off the mark in second half as Vilakazi restored their advantage four minutes after the restart with a composed finish beyond Pule from Zwane's through-ball on the left.

Things took a turn for the worst on the hour mark when a controversial third goal from Vilakazi sparked outrage from the home support, which led to a hold-up in proceedings.

Morton gave away possession in his own half and Tau sent Zwane clean through on goal, although the winger appeared to be well offside. His shot hit the right post but Vilakazi followed up to score from six yards out.

The Sundowns bench was pounded by debris from the stands and play was halted when the substitutions and coaching staff made their way onto the field.

The match finally got underway once the crowd calmed down, and they almost had something to cheer about on 78 minutes when Arendse diverted the ball just past the left post as he cut out a cross on the right meant for Siyethemba Mnguni.

Morton looked to make amends for his earlier mistake as he sent a half-volley just wide of the right post from 22 yards out on 80 minutes after a corner was cleared into his path, while Tau steered a header well wide of the left post three minutes later from Langerman's cross.

Sundowns finished strongly as Sirino hit the side-netting from an acute angle on the left after skinning his marker, before Hlompho Kekana attempted to catch out Pule with an audacious effort from the halfway line that the keeper caught above his head.


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