Sundowns scrape thrilling victory
Posted: 25 January 2009 Time: 17:53
A late penalty from Surprise Moriri and a debut goal for newly-signed striker Diyo Sibisi handed Mamelodi Sundowns a dramatic 2-1 win over AmaZulu at the Chatsworth Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Usuthu seemed to have the game under control after a goal from Dumisani Ngwenya had given them the lead with just 15 minutes to play, but late drama that saw the hosts lose their goalkeeper Kalilio Kakonje to a red card. This turned out to be a life-line for the Brazilians, and cost the hosts the much-needed three points.
Sundowns' Esrom Nyandoro had the first genuine efforts at goal, seeing his seventh-minute free-kick blocked by Kampamba Chintu, and then firing a long-range effort over the crossbar just a few moments later.
In the 16th minute the Zimbabwean midfielder had another crack at goal from well outside the penalty area, but his drive went wide of Kakonje’s right-hand post.
Just before the midway point of the first half, Dario Monteiro missed out on a couple of good chances to put his side ahead, while Usuthu's Ngwenya blasted a shot over the crossbar.
The hosts were dealt a blow on the half-hour mark when key defender Belux Bukasa Kasonga was forced to withdraw with injury, and youngster Siboniso Gumede came on as a substitute.
Clive Barker's team began to up their game as half-time approached, with Ngwenya and Sthembiso Dlamini forcing Downs goalkeeper Calvin Marlin to make a couple of saves, but it was the visitors from Tshwane who should have taken the lead just before the break.
Sibusiso Zuma met Vuyo Mere's cross, but only succeeded in putting his header wide of goal.
Seven minutes into the second half Zuma was desperately unlucky to see his shot rebound off the upright, and it seemed as if the Brazilians were destined to draw a blank as far as goalscoring was concerned.
Luckily for them, Marlin was alert to the danger AmaZulu posed at the other end of the field, and pulled off an excellent save to deny Nhlanhla Zwane a goal in the 62nd minute.
However, 11 minutes later, he could do nothing to stop Ngwenya's low drive that rippled the back of the net and sent the home fans into raptures.
But their joy was short-lived, as Kakonje was adjudged to have fouled Siboniso Gaxa in the 18-yard area late in the game and the referee pointed to the spot before dismissing the goalkeeper for a professional foul. Having used all their substitutes by that stage, AmaZulu had to use an outfielder in goal, and he could do nothing to stop Moriri scoring from the penalty spot to level the game at 1-1.
Sibisi, who had come on as a substitute around the hour mark, then endeared himself to his new club and their travelling supporters in the best possible manner: scoring the winning goal deep into injury time.