Mphela’s brace propels Downs

2011-03-05 19:27

Whoever dismisses Mamelodi Sundowns’ title credentials as a fluke has to think twice, as the Brazilians are back in the thick of things and will surely push Absa Premiership log leaders Orlando Pirates all the way to the last game.

But there will still be question marks hanging over that after they ­almost threw the three points away at death.

With last season’s top goal-scorer Katlego Mphela scoring goals with monotonous regularity, they stand a very good chance.

Just a fortnight ago they were regarded as no-hopers after two back-to-back defeats by Pirates and Free State Stars – but that was then.

Downs are now back in it, having clawed their way back into the title race after three successive victories.

After being in the bad books of Downs supporters when he went Awol last month, there could never have been a better way for Mphela to repay the fans than by letting his boots do the talking.

His brace yesterday followed the one he grabbed against Black Aces midweek, and the two he put in against Bidvest Wits last weekend to take his season tally to the top of the scoring charts with 12 goals.

If Mphela’s scoring record is not enough for Sundowns management and supporters to forget and forgive him, then ­nothing will ever do.

There had never been a dull moment when these two teams met, and it was no different yesterday as the Elias Pelembe-led Sundowns put up a fine display against an equally good Arrows side, which was looking for its first win in eight outings.

Arrows showed character and determination when they pushed Downs all the way to the final whistle after coming back from 3-0 down to score two quick goals in the 80th and 81st minute through Collins Mbesuma and Thapelo Tshilo’s deflected goal.

But it was not to be as the home side hung on for dear life, to the relief of the edgy crowd.

Sundowns went to the break with a slender 1-0 lead after Method Mwajale’s 45th-minute goal. The strike was made from Zimbabwe as Mwanjale combined well with his compatriot, Nyasha Mushekwi, who came on for the injured Richard Henyekane, to put the Brazilians ahead on the stroke of half time.

Two minutes after the break, Downs were 2-0 up after ­Mphela’s goals.

The Bafana Bafana striker completed his brace in the 71st minute from the penalty spot.

Then it was Arrows’ chance to turn the tables and put up their own comeback show, and they almost managed to pull it off, with Collins Mbesuma missing.

Other resuts:
Platinum Stars 0, SS United 0;
AmaZulu 1, Bidvest Wits 1

English Premiership:
Birmingham 1, West Brom 3

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