Sundowns too hot for Stars

Goals from Zimbabwe internationals Cuthbert Malajila and Khama Billiat gave Mamelodi Sundowns a 2-0 Absa Premiership win over Free State Stars at their home fortress the Charles Mopeli Stadium on Saturday night.

After a slow start to the game, Khama Billiat did well to steady himself under a high ball and volley towards goal in the 16th minute but his attempt lacked power and Johnny Mathole gathered easily.

Then five minutes later Billiat broke down the right wing and got past his marker before whipping in a cross, but ‘keeper Mathole did well to collect the ball before it could reach a Downs striker.

Stars had the best chance of the opening 25 minutes when he turned inside the danger area and toe poked a shot at goal, only for Dennis Onyango to parry the ball into safety.

But the danger was not over as the ball found Danny Venter on the edge of the area and his driven shot was saved by the strong arm of Onyango.

Then it was the turn of Mathole to make a good save when he got down to his left to turn away Anthony Laffor’s swerving shot from just outside the 18 area in the 30th minute.

Another good save was made by Mathole in the 42nd minute when he did well to palm away a glancing header by Khama Billiat from close range.

But Sundowns did take the lead on the stroke of halftime when Cuthbert Malajila netted with a looping cross-goal header at the far post when he got onto the end of a deep free kick by Hlompho Kekana.

Six minutes into the second half and Mathole did well to keep out a close range shot from Billiat with his legs after Sundowns had got in behind the Stars defence.

Sundowns saw a penalty shout turned down after 59 minutes when Malajila looked to have been held back and bundled over as he broke through on goal, but the referee waved play on.

Sundowns had a chance to extend their lead on the hour mark when they created a one-two opportunity but Billiat could not keep down his shot on goal as he tried to curl the ball into the top corner.

A minute later Downs had the ball in the net through Kekana, but it was ruled out for offside.

And then after 63 minutes Mashaba saw red, when he left his studs showing in a late challenge on goalkeeper Mathole and received his second caution.

Tebogo Langerman hit the crossbar with a powerful left footed drive after a mazy run to the edge of the danger area but soon afterwards, Billiat finally hit the target and made it 2-0 with a very good low shot with his left foot from the edge of the 18 area.

Sundowns closed shop well in the final fifteen minutes although the home side had a few chances to pull a goal back. The champions held firm and were well worth the victory.

Free State Stars 0

Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 2 (Malajila 45’ Billiat 72’)

TEAMS

Stars: Mathole; Rakoti (Shabalala 67’), Sankara, Cardoso, Masana (Henyekane 60’); Kerspuy, Venter, Masehe, Mashego; Abdul Basit (Somaeb 56’), Sekola

Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango, S. Zwane, Schut, Mashaba, Mphahlele, Zungu, Kekana, Malajila (Zwane 69’), Langerman, Billiat (Nthethe 90’), Laffor (Mbekile 82’)