Sundowns thump United

2009-10-03 00:00

IT was supposed to be a close game, but obviously no-one had told Mamelodi Sundowns that as the Pretoria giants flexed their muscles with five second-half goals to run out 5-1 winners over Maritzburg United in last night’s Premier Soccer League game at Woodburn Stadium.

A six-goal fest provided a great spectacle for a near-capacity crowd of mostly United supporters, but Gordon Igesund’s class of 2009/10 team have now missed out on two glorious marketing opportunities to wow their fans, who again turned out in their numbers.

Following a 4-2 home defeat to Bloemfontein Celtic United have conceded nine goals in their last two games at Woodburn, a disappointing return for team that appeared to be making solid progress in the current season.

The home side looked entirely capable of producing the close contest predicted by Igesund when they worked hard to dominate the first 45 minutes and engineer a 1-0 lead through Noah Chivuta’s 25th-minute penalty.

But Sundowns surged all over United in the second half as their Bafana Bafana striking duo of Katlego Mphela and Mabhudi Khenyeza picked out holes and completely pulled the home side’s back four out of shape.

As no mean striker himself in his playing days, Downs coach Hristo Stoichkov would have enjoyed the class touches of two-goal scorer Mphela in particular, who could be the answer to Joel Santana’s goal-scoring problems if he can transfer this form to international level.

With the number of shots hit straight at United goalkeeper Brenden Wardle, Sundowns might even have won by a greater margin.

United looked to have the making of a Downs side who were slow out of the blocks in the first half.

The home team had the better of the exchanges and it did not surprise when their pressure resulted in a penalty as Felix Obada was brought down by Siyanda Xulu in the right of the area. Chivuta slotted to the right of Brian Baloyi.

United continued to pry openings, as Obada was found free on the right and the winger’s cross was met by Fadlu Davids on his own in the middle, who skied his header.

Three minutes before the break Musa Nyatama put Rudolf Bester through in a one-one-one with Brian Baloyi and the winger curled his shot past the upright from a tight angle.

After the break it was a different story as Sundowns scored twice, and United’s challenge increasingly wilted under the Brazilians’ awesome, fluid attacking football.

Two minutes in Mphela equalised with a calm, right-footed finish to a ball played from the right by Khenyeza.

Elias Pelembe made it 2-1 in the 51st minute when he swept in the rebound after Khenyeza’s shot had been kept out by Wardle.

United’s midfield, calm and industrious in the first half, attempted to work their way back into the game but the home team’s attack found the Downs defence to be a rock-solid barrier.

As the home team resorted to the long-ball, Downs responded with glee to the possession they were being handed, and worked the ball forward for three more goals.

In the 71st minute Mphela had space to carry the ball down the inside left channel and finish with a great punt from the edge of the area.

Khenyeza got his deserved goal in the 90th minute, scissor-kicking past Noah Chivuta on the goal-line after Wardle had at first saved then failed to collect the rebound.

Even substitute Lebohang Mokoena, known for his inability to score when at Orlando Pirates, found the back of the net a minute later, stroking in his shot after the ball was worked to the right via Khenyeza.

PSL preview, fixtures and standings, page 47

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