Absa Premiership

Sundowns get title defence off to winning start

Mamelodi Sundowns (Supplied)
Mamelodi Sundowns (Supplied)

Cape Town - Absa Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns got their title defence off to a perfect start on Saturday with a 2-0 victory over SuperSport United at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.

A superb long-range goal from Sibusiso Vilakazi put the title holders 1-0 up at half-time, while Themba Zwane made sure of the win with a smart finish moments before the final whistle.

It was the visitors who created the first moment of danger early on when Evans Rusike nearly got on to the end of a corner and headed home, as the Sundowns defence failed to deal with the incoming threat.

Minutes later, United found themselves with another corner and there was another chance for Bradley Grobler this time, but his effort lacked power.

United were definitely enjoying the better of the opening minutes, and the frustration soon boiled over as Anele Ngcongca was booked for a rash challenge.

The Masandawana fans wanted something to cheer about early, and they got it on 10 minutes when Vilakazi picked out Themba Zwane, who forced a good save from Ronwen Williams in the United goal.

Hlompho Kekana was next to apply some pressure, and his long-range strike nearly resulted in an unlikely opener on 16 minutes, with only the crossbar coming to the visitors' rescue.

Masandawana were now gaining a foothold in the match, and it didn't take long for the first goal of the reigning champions' new campaign to arrive.

Vilakazi was the man who came up with a fantastic long-range effort that went in off the crossbar to put the Brazilians one goal to the good.

Grobler was the next man to receive a yellow card for a rash challenge on Rivaldo Coetzee, but he nearly made up for it with an equaliser moments later after drilling his shot at Denis Onyango and forcing the Ugandan keeper to go down low and save it.

The second half kicked off with another long-range effort, this time from Lebohang Maboe, that went just wide of the goal, before United's Onismor Bhasera became the third man to receive a yellow card from the referee.

Sundowns were doing a good job of controlling the game and protecting their lead, even if they didn't create many chances during a quiet second half.

But they were finally rewarded for their patience and hard work with a second goal in the 89th minute to put the result beyond question.

Thapelo Morena was the man who created the opening, as he used his pace to beat the defence before teeing it for Zwane, who made sure of all three points with a clinical strike as it finished 2-0 to the reigning champions.

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