Ruthless Mamelodi Sundowns get another one over Kaizer Chiefs with a comfortable win in league opener
Amakhosi had their chances on the day, but it was the reigning champions who were far more clinical in front of goal
Although Chiefs – who were edged out to the league title on the final day of last season by Sundowns, were not completely outplayed – chances on goal were evenly shared – it was the Pretoria side’s quality which shone through as goals for Peter Shalulile, Kermit Erasmus and a late Themba Zwane penalty fired them to victory.
Looking to push on from last weekend’s cup win over Maritzburg United, Chiefs started brightly and it took a sharp save from Sundowns keeper Denis Onyango to stop Khama Billiat scoring with a third minute volley after he had found space down the right channel.
However, the Brazilians began to look more of a threat as the game moved past the 15 minute mark and after a couple of half chances, it took a goal-line clearance from Ramahlwe Mphahlele to stop Shalulile’s lob going in, following a sloppy bit of work outside of his area by Chiefs keeper Itumeleng Khune in the 22nd minute
More opportunities followed for the visiting team as Motjeka Madisha flashed a header wide while Andile Jali fired over the bar from a good position just inside the box.
Sundowns didn’t exactly have Chiefs up against the wall, but found themselves gifted the opening goal through another Khune mistake in the 37th minute.
The former Bafana keeper flapped at a corner from Rivaldo Coetzee and failed to get any contact, which allowed Shalulile to out-jump Daniel Cardoso and steer the ball into the net via his shoulder.
Hlompho Kekana then fired narrowly over goal with a free kick a few minutes before half time as Sundowns went into the break comfortably in command.
Following the restart, there were suggestions that Amakhosi were ready to mount a fightback although an equaliser eluded them as Coetzee and Ricardo Nasciemento made excellent tackles to deny Leonardo Castro.
It just wasn’t proving to be the Glamour Boys’ day as instead Masandawana went 2-0 up in the 54th minute when Erasmus fired into an empty net after Khune had blocked the initial effort from Zwane.
Opportunities arrived for Sundowns to get a third but that didn’t happen as Shalulile failed to get a decisive touch while Zwane went clean through on goal in the 68th minute but took too long to get his shot away which allowed Cardoso to make a fine covering tackle.
At the other end, Onyango showed he had been maintaining focus as he reacted smartly to deny Billiat from close range 15 minutes from time.
There were however to be no hopes of a late Chiefs come-back when Zwane cleverly slipped in substitute George Maluleka, who touched the ball past an on-rushing Khune before being upended by his former team-mate.
Zwane slotted home comfortably from the resultant 89th minute penalty to complete a great afternoon’s work for Sundowns while leaving Amakhosi coach Gavin Hunt with a whole bunch of questions to answer.
Underlining Chiefs’ struggles on the day, Keletso Sifama and Happy Mashiane both missed excellent opportunities to score in added time.