Bucs take the lead

2012-04-19 06:57

Mamelodi Sundowns dropped to second place in the Premiership standings after they were stunned in a 2-1 loss to Platinum Stars in Atteridgeville last night.

The result opened up the title fight at the top of the standings as Sundowns, who gave away numerous missed chances to suffer a crucial first defeat of the year, fell one point behind Orlando Pirates.

The Buccaneers took top spot on the league table after picking up a point in a goalless draw against Moroka Swallows in Dobsonville.

Stars had taken a shock lead in the 17th minute through striker Patrick Malokase, who beat the offside trap before lobbing over the advancing Calvin Marlin in the Sundowns goal.

The hosts replied through captain Teko Modise after 27 minutes as the midfielder was afforded space in the box to finish off a cross from Punch Masenamela on the left.

With scores deadlocked at 1-1 at the break, Stars’ Sibusiso Msomi netted a scorching long-range shot from outside the box that left Marlin flat-footed in the 56th minute.

It was an enterprising clash as Stars, who have pulled themselves clear of relegation danger, garnered three crucial points to help them challenge for a credible top-half finish when the season concludes.

This was Sundowns’ third league loss of the campaign.

After struggling early on, the hosts came into their own midway through the opening stanza as they dominated the closing stages.

Chances fell for forward Nyasha Mushekwi, who headed over the bar from a Lebogang Mokoena cross on the right in the 26th minute.

Mushekwi again fashioned a chance four minutes later as his attempted shot was halted by Stars keeper Siyabonga Mpontshane in a one-on-one situation.

Elias Pelembe soon forced Mpontshane to tip over the post from the edge of the box.

Shortly before the break, appetising interplay between Mokoena and Modise saw Doctor Mampuru’s final shot sail over the bar.

The second half started off at a frantic pace with the visitors in control, as substitute Robert Ng’ambi’s speculative long-range effort was easily held by Marlin.

Sundowns were left with little option but to press forward in the final quarter of the match as they added a second striker, Richard Henyekane, to aid Mushekwi.

Mushekwi should have levelled matters with six minutes left from a Pelembe free kick on the right, but badly mistimed his header as the ball sailed wide.

Henyekane also created a chance in injury time that sailed agonisingly close to Mpontshane’s far post.

Dinaledi, however, held on as they absorbed the pressure from their desperate opponents to earn their eighth league victory of the season.

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