Sundowns level with Pirates after Leopards win

Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns moved level on points with Orlando Pirates at the summit of the Absa Premiership standings after clinching a 2-1 victory over Black Leopards at Thohoyandou Stadium on Tuesday night.

Gaston Sirino fired the visitors in front just before the half-hour mark, before Tebogo Langerman added a second on 68 minutes to put Downs firmly in control. Tumelo Khutlang managed to pull one back for Leopards in injury time, but it was a case of too little, too late as Sundowns held firm to claim a third straight Premiership win.

The hosts came flying out of the starting blocks as they went in search of an early breakthrough against the title-chasing Masandawana.

However, despite creating a handful of good chances, Leopards were unable to capitalise, with Thabiso Mokoena firing well over the bar in the fifth minute, before Ivan Mahangwahaya forced a save from Denis Onyango in the Downs goal.

Leopards continued to press forward and again went close in the 19th minute as Tshwarelo Bereng saw his low shot kept out by Onyango.

And Leopards were made to rue their missed opportunities later in the half as Sundowns claimed the lead following a horrible mix-up at the back. Jean Munganga tried to head the ball back to his keeper but the attempted pass lacked power, allowing Gaston Sirino to nip in ahead of King Ndlovu and prod the ball home.

Sundowns briefly threatened to add a second goal in the minutes that followed but Sirino sent a curling shot just wide of the far post, before Themba Zwane fired a long-range effort high and wide after a neat one-two with Sibusiso Vilakazi.

Lidoda Duvha rallied late in the half and created a great chance to draw level when Bereng sent in an inviting cross, only for Onyango to palm Robert Ng'ambi's powerful header away from goal.

The second half started at a cautious tempo but sprang to life in the 57th minute after Vilakazi forced Ndlovu into action at the back post.

Downs kept prodding and probing at the Leopards defence and eventually got the breakthrough they were looking for in the 68th minute, Tebogo Langerman sweeping the ball home at the back post after Morena's cross took a big deflection.

Leopards redoubled their efforts after falling further behind but could not get the rub of the green as Tumelo Khutlang saw a strong penalty appeal waved away by the referee, before Mosa Lebusa and Hlompho Kekana denied Karabo Tshepe's shot on the line.

The hosts didn't give up the fight and they were eventually rewarded with a consolation goal in the second minute of injury time. Tshepe bombed down the right-hand flank before unleashing a powerful shot on goal, which Onyango parried into the path for Khutlang for a straightforward finish.

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