Sundowns back to winning ways
Posted: 22 December 2007 Time: 18:05
Mamelodi Sundowns eased the pressure on beleaguered coach Gordon Igesund with a hard fought 1-0 victory over Free State Stars in an Absa Premiership match at Goble Park Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Esrom Nyandoro's goal 21 minutes into the second half broke a seven match winless streak in the League for the Brazilians and condemned Stars to their second consecutive home defeat.
The match was exciting with the sides having scoring opportunities although the bumpy playing surface made it difficult for both teams to get into their stride in an attacking sense.
Stars 'keeper Kennedy Mweene was forced into an outstanding stop in the 9th minute, diving sharply to his left to keep out Peter Ndlovu's snap shot through a crowded penalty area.
Just before the half hour mark, Stars winger Matome Madimabe surged powerfully down the left flank but his shot directed at the near post was easily kept out by Brian Baloyi.
On the 40 minute, Mweene had to move sharply to his right to keep out David Kannemeyer's powerful free kick that looked destined for the top corner of Stars' goal.
Three minutes later, the Zambian 'keeper made a more straightforward save, denying Ndlovu for a second time after the Sundowns striker had cut inside from the right channel to shoot on goal with his left foot.
Right on the stroke of half time, Thulasizwe Mbuyane missed out on a glorious chance to give the hosts the lead, failing to get a shot off from close range after doing well to control Madimabe's header back across the face of goal. The score was 0-0 at the interval.
Three minutes after the resumption, Mbuyane came within inches of breaking the deadlock and making up for his earlier error with a close range shot that hit the underside of the crossbar and rebounded away to safety.
Instead it was Sundowns who found the game's first goal in the 65th minute when substitute Manqoba Ngwenya found Esrom Nyandoro with a clever pass and the Zimbabwean midfielder surged into the penalty area and shot past Mweene's right hand to put the visitors 1-0 up.
Stars were gifted a fine chance to equalise five minutes later with an indirect free kick inside the Sundowns penalty area, but the defensive wall blocked Sifiso Vilakazi's shot.
Ndlovu then lobbed Mweene on a route one Sundowns counter attack but the ball bounced wide of goal, keeping the hosts' hopes alive.
Sundowns though, apart from one late scare deep into injury time, easily held off Stars in the final 15 minutes to claim their first win since a 2-1 defeat of Orlando Pirates on November 4.
The Brazilians move to 18 points from their 15 matches while Stars remain on 23, missing out on the chance to move to the head of the League table.