Themba Zwane marked his return from mid-week suspension with a goal in the capital city derby to put the visitors’ noses in front after Matsatsantsa A Pitori defenders failed to clear their lines. Sundowns went into the break with the advantage and when the second half proceeded, Kaitano Tembo was the first one to look on to his bench for options.
Tembo’s first change was striker Thamsanqa Gabuza, whose introduction meant Siyabonga Nhlapho, who started the games in an unfamiliar central defensive position, had to revert to his natural right-back position as youngster Luke Fleurs was withdrawn.
Immediately after Gabuza’s introduction, SuperSport surged forward and won themselves a penalty which skipper Dean Furman slotted into the bottom corner out of Denis Onyango’s reach. The pendulum of attack swung from one end of the pitch to the other as both sides launched attack after attack but it was Masandawana who found the back of the net after countless probes.
It was just after the hour mark when Downs captain Hlompho Kekana found himself on the right flak where he delivered an inch-perfect cross to Thapelo Morena, who is known for his pace more than his shooting skills. But yesterday, he scored what could easily be described as the goal of his career when he connected well with the Kekana cross to fire a volley past goalkeeper Ronwen Williams to restore Sundowns’ lead.
Tembo’s camp was dealt an injury blow when attacker Evans Rusike could not recover from a rash tackle earlier and he forced’s Tembo to substitute him. The young Gamphani Lungu was the player thrown in and he almost found the equalizer just after coming on when his attempt was dealt with by Onyango.
Pitso Mosimane was also forced to make a substitution and it was Morena who had taken a knock in the 74th minute. Mosimane then handed attacker Phakamani Mahlambi his first game after missing out on action for a while after a lengthy injury. Tembo then countered that with his final substation and on came Thabo Qalinge to try and tilt the game into United’s favour but the former Orlando Pirates winger was carefully dealt with by veteran defender Anele Ngcongca as Masandawana held on to claim all three points.