Goals from Lyle Lakay and Themba Zwane helped league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns beat Baroka FC in their DStv Premiership clash in Polokwane.
JOHANNESBURG – Catch us if you can! That was a clear message from champions Mamelodi Sundowns as they kept their undefeated record intact in the DStv Premiership, defeating Baroka FC 2-0 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Sundowns’ win over Baroka FC ensured that they bagged seven wins and three draws in 10 matches this season, taking their tally to 24 points, three ahead of second-placed Swallows FC who’ll square off with Orlando Pirates in the “Original Soweto derby” this afternoon.
After a handful of chances in the first half, the Brazilians were unfortunate to head to the interval with nothing to show for their efforts, which were either dismantled by their finishing, brilliant goalkeeping by Oscarine Masuluke or the woodwork.
With barely two minutes into the match, Sundowns’ attack was already in search of their first goal of the match. Striker Peter Shalulile unleashed a thunderbolt from close-range that was parried away for a corner-kick by Masuluke after a well chest-trapped pass by Aubrey Modiba.
From thereon, the Brazilians gained momentum, making some dangerous inroads into Baroka’s final third. Such that their persistence nearly paid dividends as Shalulile was denied a scoring opportunity from the edge of the box as he won a set-piece instead.
Returning midfielder Themba Zwane, who scored his team’s winner in stoppage time, whipped in a telling shot from the set-piece towards goal but Masuluke made a high-flying save, conceding a corner-kick for his team.
Shalulile was, again, in the thick of things for his team’s realistic third opportunity. Lyle Lakay sent a delightful delivery from the left-flank and Shalulile connected with the ball with a turning header which came off the upright, saving Baroka from the jaws of conceding.
The pace of the match cooled down after the “cooling break”. Baroka, though, looked the more reinvigorated, pulling Sundowns’ defence before testing goalkeeper Denis Onyango with long range efforts, notably from Ananias Gebhardt and Gerald Phiri jun.
The Brazilians, though, again came close to finding their breakthrough in the half’s additional time. But Shalulile’s header hit the underside of the bar before the ball came off the line, allowing Masuluke to regroup and collect with ease.
The champions started the second half with how they ended the first, throwing numbers to the final third. Such that they were again unfortunate not to take the lead, Mothobi Mvala’s header from a corner-kick exceptionally tipped on top of the crossbar by Masuluke.
With chances from open play, having come and gone begging, Sundowns needed something extraordinary. And they found that courtesy of a Lyle Lakay set-piece from close-range as the Capetonian whipped in a delivery that dipped over the wall before sailing into the bottom corner.
Soon thereafter, Sundowns received a major boost to their attacking contingent, welcoming back playmaker Gaston Sirino for the first time on the pitch after his failed move to Egyptian giants Al Ahly where he was set to reunite with former coach Pitso Mosimane.
The Uruguayan showed his hunger from the outset, testing Masuluke who was off his line with a dipping shot. But the lanky goalkeeper was equal to the task. But Sirino finally made his contribution, setting up Zwane for the winner in stoppage time.