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22/03/2009 15:00

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Downs down and out

Posted: 22 March 2009 Time: 17:59

Coach Henri Michel had Sundowns supporters baying for his blood after Platinum Stars beat his team 1-0 in the Nedbank Cup on Sunday.

Stars knocked out the defending champions to join Maritzburg United, Bloemfontein Celtic and Ajax Cape Town as the only four PSL teams left in the competition, pending the Moroka Swallows result against Peace Lovers this afternoon.

The goal came through a Luis Renteria penalty three minutes into extra time.

It was a dull game, and it seemed as though the teams had been coached by the same coach, as they matched each other move for move.

Perhaps it was the fact that both teams were coming off huge defeats in the League this past week (Downs lost 4-1 to SuperSport United and Stars 6-0 to Golden Arrows) which made them reticent to push forward.

The only chance of the first half came from Benedict Vilakazi for Sundowns. The Little Napoleon showed some great individual skill before sending in a powerful shot from just outside the box, but his attempt was foiled by Stars keeper Wayne Sandilands, who tipped the ball round for a corner.

The second half was marginally more lively. Henrico Botes had the best chance of the game in the 56th minute, but with only the keeper to beat, he shot straight into Calvin Marlin’s arms.

Diyo Sibisi’s free-kick in the 62nd minute almost put Downs ahead, but his shot went just wide of the upright.

Dingane Masanabo could have taken the game for the Tycoons in the 85th minute, when he rose to head in a free-kick, but Marlin pulled off a great save to keep the score at 0-0, and send the game into extra time.

Three minutes into extra time, Renteria was brought down in the box by Robyn Johannes. There were objections when the referee pointed to the spot, but the penalty was legitimate. After scoring with his first attempt, the Colombian striker was forced to re-take the spot-kick, but he made no mistake with his second attempt: 1-0.

Sundowns managed to get a shot in in the 120th minute, after Jorge Acuna headed on a Vuyo Mere free-kick, but Sandilands pulled off a great save to stop Vilakazi’s effort from six yards out.

Michel left the field under a shower of abuse, and had to be escorted off the field with a police guard.

All in all, the game was uninspired and unexciting, and it’s a sad day when the most interesting moment happens after the match, when the coach is driven away in a police van.

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