Downs end Dikwena cup curse

The Brazilians had suffered defeat in their last four cup encounters against Dikwena, but on this occasion goals from Mzikayise Mashaba, Khama Billiat and Hlompho Kekana saw Pitso Mosimane’s men through to the quarter-finals.

Stars almost caught Sundowns cold in the first minute of the match, with Robert Ng’ambi directing a cross from the right flank onto the near post. That early chance set the tone of the first half, which was an open and entertaining affair.

Sundowns were marginally the better team in the opening half hour and they claimed the lead on 29 minutes through an excellent team goal. At the end of an intricate passing move, Themba Zwane and Siyanda Zwane combined before the latter’s pull-back from the by-line was fired home by Mzikayise Mashaba.

Stars responded well to going a goal down and claimed a deserved equaliser just before the break. Robert Ng’ambi put Ndumiso Mabena into space on the right of the penalty area and his low shot-cross was swept home by Eleazar Rodgers to make it 1-1.

The second half lacked the fluency and rhythm of the first, though Sundowns looked the better team pushing forward. Stars were somewhat unfortunate after being forced into replacing key attacking players Ng’ambi and Mogakolodi Ngele, who both suffered injuries.

The match looked destined to go to extra time, but a lapse in Stars’ concentration allowed the Brazilians to reclaim the lead in the 82nd minute. Hlompho Kekana’s pass was picked up on the edge of the box by Khama Billiat, who provided a brilliant turn and finish to put his side 2-1 up.

And just two minutes later the visitors extended their lead to 3-1, as Kekana fired home an unstoppable shot direct from a free kick to end the match as a contest and assure Sundowns of a place in the quarter-final draw.