A second half brace from Katlego Mphela saw Mamelodi Sundowns crunch a Santos fight-back as they ran out 5-2 winners in an Absa Premiership match at the Athlone Stadium on Wednesday night.
|Katlego Mphela © Gallo Images
After taking a two goal lead in the first half thanks to goals from Nyasha Mushekwi and Teko Modise, the Brazilians saw their lead squandered in the second half as Santos came out fighting finding two goals from Eleazar Rodgers and Vuyisile Wana.
But with the scores level and the introduction of Mphela, Sundowns soon took the lead again through Themba Zwane before Mphela sealed victory with a brace.
In the early stages of this match both teams looked unsettled and gave away possession cheaply.
It seems like Patrice Motsepe’s words of compliments on the young Themba Zwane touched coach Johan Neeskins as he included him alongside Teko Modise and Hlompo Kekana in his midfield trio.
Modise got the crowd roaring with his silky passes and skill inside the first five minutes, but it resulted in nothing as Santos managed to contain them.
In the 11th minute Richard Henyekane skilled his way past Bonginkosi Macala before swerving a beautiful cross to the on-coming Nyasha Mushekwi who neatly tucked the ball to the far post beating Tsepo Motsoening to make it 1-0.
The goal somehow seemed to have revived Sundowns as the midfield trio of Modise, Zwane and Kekana seemed to be combining well and played well throughout the first half.
In the 22nd minute, once again Henyekane exploited his pace and beat Ariwerayi and Macala, but his tame effort sailed over the bar.
Three minutes later and Ariwerayi fouled Mushekwi just outside the 18-yard box.
Captain of the night, Teko Modise stepped up and curled the ball around the Santos defensive wall and beat Moetsoeneng to make it 2-0.
Santos’s first attack came from a free-kick down the right-flank which resulted in nothing as it sailed helplessly wide.
The Sundowns midfield looked to be in control of possession for most of the first half with the dictatorship of Modise.
Sundowns goalkeeper, Wayne Sandilands went into the interval without making any real save.
In the second half, Santos looked for ways in which they could get back into the match. They tried to unsettle Sundowns by bringing on Vuyisile Wana at the start of the second half and it worked.
It wasn’t long until Wana got into the thick of things as he forced a brilliant save out of Sandilands in the 47th minute.
In the 50th minute, Isaacs and Chimodzi played a neat one-two before Chimodzi crossed for the Santos yellow jerseys inside Sandilands’s box, Rodgers scored from the cross to pull Santos a goal back, 2-1
After the goal, Santos pushed forward in numbers in search of the equalizer and created a number of chances but they were all squandered.
Mphela was brought on by Neeskens to try and bring life back into the Sundowns team, but Santos defence was not willing to give him space.
Chimodzi, King and Wana looked to have found their touches as they kept making good advantage of their speed on the counter attack and it wasn’t long until they leveled matters.
In the 65th minute, Tyron Arendse won possession inside the centre of the park and played a deceiving chip behind the Sundowns defence; Wana made good advantage of his pase and capitalized from a miscommunication error between Daniels and Sandilands to make it 2-2.
In the 71st minute, Punch Masenamela beat two defenders and forced an acrobatic save out of Motsoeneng.
And three minutes later Masenamela again on the overlap played a neat pass to the on-running Themba Zwane who lined it up with a beautiful volley to beat Motsoeneng inside the near post, 3-2.
In the 79th minute, Zwane was set-up by Pelembe, but disturbed by Van Beulen who tried to clear. The ball slipped passed the Santos defence and Motsoeneng failed to clear the dander. Mphela benefited from the blander and made it 4-2 to Santos.
Mphela rounded off Sundowns’s goal galore when he received a beautiful weighted pass from Zwane and made his way past the Santos defence before beating Motsoeneng to make it 5-2.
Mamelodi Sundowns (2) 5 (Mushekw 11’, Modise 25’, Zwane 74’, Mphela 79’+86’)
Santos (0) 2 (Rodgers 50', Wana 65')
Santos: Motsoeneng; Kefile (Wana 46’), Jampies, Van Beulen, King, Isaacs (Shabangu 84’), Macala, Chimodzi (Arendse 74’), Rodgers, T. Arendse, Ariwerayi
Sundowns: Sandilands; Xulu, Ngubane, Daniels, Masenamela, Kekana, Henyekane (Mphela 57’), Zwane, Pelembe (Mokoena 88’), Modise (Mwanjale 81’), Mushekwi