Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 2
Vilakazi 40 and Arendse 71
Golden Arrows (0) 0
It was not the prettiest of performances from the well-known Mamelodi Sundowns outfit but some good penetrative passes from Gaston Sirino made sure they break their bogey over Golden Arrows in Cup competition as they walked away with a 2-0 win.
Sundowns were hoping to continue the momentum from their mid-week victory in the league – as they welcomed back captain Hlompho Kekana and Wayne Arendse, who replaced Tiyani Mabunda and Ricardo Nascimento respectively.
New recruits Lyle Lakay and Lebohang Maboe kept their places in the starting line-up seeing as they featured for the Brazilians in the opener of the new campaign a week ago. Arrows’ defence kept their shape in the early stages of the game, and Sundowns were forced to play on the flanks with Themba Zwane and Lakay, while Sirino and Lebohang Maboe were playing a supporting role to Jeremy Brockie. This helped the homeside play just in-front of Abafana Bes’thende’s defence with inward diagonal balls.
Sundowns created a couple of nice touches from there on, but there was not enough penetrative effort to reach Nkosingiphile Gumede’s goal. And Arrows’ drop in concentration resulted in the Brazilian’s attackers all linking up for a beautiful team goal. Brockie in Arrows’ third linked up Sirino who as usual cut in, found an unmarked Zwane in-front of him and who cleverly teamed up Sibusiso Vilakazi at the edge of the box to unleash a delightful curler that left Gumede flat-footed as the ball hit the back of the net.
The visitors did try to find their feet in the second stanza of the game through their reserve league graduate and precious find of the season Siboniso Conco. He had a couple of good touches in the attacking department but he didn’t receive much support from the front two front-runners Nduduzo Sibiya and Lerato Lamola and that meant they still had to dig deep in search of an equalizing.
Arrows’ misfortune gave gave Uruguayan Sirino the impetus that he needed to get his team back into the game. He took the game to Arrows defence and in the process mesmerised Nkanyiso Mngwegwe into a blunder that saw him without his boot at some point. While, Arrows’ defence was still trying to come back and regroup – Sirino caught them on a break and delivered a quality cross that found Wayne Arendse who calmly headed home.
The slow pace of the game show that both sides are still working on their way back to full fitness and some players are still to find their feet at their new homes. But for the Absa Premiership champions, there’s no time to moan and sulk around as they continue with continental football against Caf champions Wydad Casablanca this week. Andile Jali will serve as a source of motivation after he was out injured for the last two starters of the season.