Mamelodi Sundowns were able to maintain their place atop the Absa Premiership table after a 2-0 win over Free State Stars at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe on Wednesday night.
Goals from Matthew Pattison and Mabhuti Khenyeza sealed the victory on the night for the home side in what was a convincing display
The Brazilians may have been axed from the Telkom Knockout competition over the weekend, but against Free State Stars there were no signs of jadedness as they came out stronger than ever.
The home side were in charge of the fixture from the word go as they controlled the midfield battle with some ferocious tackling and accurate passing.
Their domination quickly paid off as they found themselves taking the lead in only the sixth minute of the match
Elias Pelembe worked his magic down the right flank before supplying an inch-perfect cross to find Pattison unmarked inside the 18-yard area. The ‘Downs midfielder made no mistake drilling his shot into the bottom left corner of the goal, 1-0.
A couple of minutes later and Stars were lucky not to concede a second goal when Kennedy Mweene tried to dribble his way past Nyasha Mushekwi, but was caught in possession. Mushekwi, though failed to punish the Ea Lla Koto keeper when his shot was brilliantly cleared off the line by Dany Mbo
After the early dominance by Sundowns, Stars slowly found their way back into the game and pulled the best out of Wayne Sandilands in the 23rd minute. Mpho Makola was the man to test the ‘Downs keeper when he unleashed a powerful shot from about 25 yards out, but Sandilands made a good save diving to his right.
Four minutes later the Brazilians keeper was called into action again, this time to deny Nzuzi Soki. The Stars player made his way into the box and let loose with a shot, but Sandilands spread himself well to make the save.
Still, despite Free State creating some chances of their own it was Sundowns that came closest to finding the next goal
In the 30th minute Khenyeza came within inches of doubling his side’s lead when his well taken shot from 20 yards out skimmed the wrong side of the upright.
The rest of the half saw ‘Downs control the possession stakes, but were unable to create any other decent chances on goal
The second half saw the home side start where they finished the second: large and in charge
Matthew Booth should have scored his side’s second goal three minutes into the half when he rose highest to meet a corner-kick, but his header was cleared off the goal-line by some desperate Stars defending
Still, the Brazilians didn’t have to wait much longer to find their second goal and it came courtesy of Khenyeza in the 67th minute
It was a beautiful solo effort from the Sundowns striker as he beat a couple of defenders before making his way into the 18-yard box and unleashing a powerful shot that found the bottom left-hand corner of the net: 2-0.
After that ‘Downs were content to hold onto the ball and their two-goal lead. That is the way the game finished as Sundowns held onto their place at the top of the Absa Premiership table.
The rest of the results are Kaizer Chiefs 0 v Santos 1, Orlando Pirates 1 v AmaZulu 0, Mpumalanga Black Aces 1 v BidVest Wits University 1, Moroka Swallows 0 v Golden Arrows 1, Ajax Cape Town 1 v Vasco da Gama 0, Maritzburg United 2 v SuperSport United 2 and Platinum Stars 1 v Bleomfontein Celtic 2-Backpagepix