Pretoria - Mamelodi Sundowns got their Absa Premiership campaign off to a winning start as they defeated Tshwane rivals SuperSport United 2-0 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium yesterday.
Goals from Hlompho Kekana and Themba Zwane gave the Brazilians a deserved three points and saw them shrug off last weekend’s shock exit from the MTN8 at the hands of Maritzburg United.
Both teams took their time settling into the game, but the chances began to flow at either end of the field after the midway point of the first half.
Sundowns’ Khama Billiat’s shot was brilliantly blocked by Clayton Daniels at 25 minutes, while shortly thereafter Bradley Grobler almost caught goalkeeper Denis Onyango in possession near his goal line.
Just past the half-hour mark, United almost claimed the lead through Aubrey Modiba, who struck a left-footed effort from long range which skimmed the top of the crossbar.
The Brazilians broke the deadlock with a well-taken goal in the 33rd minute. Billiat squared the ball for Kekana, who had just enough space to squeeze a low shot beyond Ronwen Williams’ right hand to make it 1-0.
At the end of the first half ’Downs fans were incensed when Percy Tau went down in the penalty area after a Reneilwe Letsholonyane challenge only for referee Victor Gomes to wave away the visitors’ appeals.
However, the Brazilians didn’t have to wait long in the second half to extend their lead, with Billiat dispossessing Daniels before feeding the ball to Zwane, who scored a superb solo goal with a low shot which beat Williams at his near post.
United looked to fight their way back and in the 63rd minute Grobler got on the end of Thuso Phala’s free kick and sent a header goalwards, only to be denied by a fingertip save by Onyango.
Any hope the hosts had of a comeback were crushed just over 10 minutes later when captain Dean Furman was sent off for a second bookable offence.