Stars down the Brazilians

In Ea Lla Koto’s first game at the Limpopo venue, goals from Thabo Matlama and Phumlani Mhamha handed them an impressive victory. Sundowns scored their goal through striker Nyasha Mushekwi and welcomed back Katlego Mphela, but it was still a massively disappointing result for them.

The hosts had what looked like a legitimate penalty after Innocent Mdledle tripped Madoda Motha inside the box in the 10th minute, but the referee waved play on.

However, their reward arrived when Matlama was set up by Boitumelo Sekgobela before beating Wayne Sandilands with a low shot in the 25th minute.

But Stars’ joy was short-lived as Sundowns surged forward with much precision and equalised via Mushekwi’s brave header after a long ball from Matthew Pattison in the 27th minute.

However, in the interim, Mushekwi collided with Stars keeper Kennedy Mweene and had to be replaced by Katlego Mphela in the 28th minute. Mphela was playing his first game for Sundowns since he returned to the club after a self-imposed exile.

Teko Modise, who was playing behind the strikers, failed to live up to expectations associated with the number 8 on the back of his jersey, and was eventually replaced by Richard Henyekane in the 80th minute.

Sundowns' best effort in the second half came from Mabhuti Khenyeza, but after receiving a cross from Elias Pelembe in the 59th minute, the Sundowns striker ballooned his shot over the bar.

As if not to be outdone, Matlaba also directed what could have been his second for day over the bar with Sandilands off balance in the 69th minute.

However, Komphela’s charges never looked back in a bid to regain the lead, and it came as no surprise when, after a corner kick from the right, Mhamha out-jumped Thapelo Tshilo before beating Sandilands with a beautiful header in the 73rd minute to seal the game for his team.