Mamelodi Sundowns climbed to the top of the Absa Premiership table with a 2-0 victory over Golden Arrows on Tuesday evening at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.
The Brazilians made three adjustments to the team that played to a goalless draw with Wydad Casablanca in the CAF Champions League semi-final second-leg over the weekend, as Wayne Arendse, Rivaldo Coetzee and Sibusiso Vilakazi returned to the line-up.
Masandawana got off to a dream start as Hlompho Kekana grabbed the lead in just the third minute of the match with a low shot towards the bottom corner after he was teed up by Themba Zwane’s audacious back-heel.
Zwane doubled the lead three minutes later with a simple low finish past Arrows goalkeeper Maximilian Mbaeva following a through ball from Gaston Sirino as the visitors’ defence were caught napping.
However, Musa Bilankulu had a glorious chance for Abafana Bes’thende in the 16th minute after he latched onto a loose ball at the near post, but he struck his effort glaringly over the bar from around six-yards out.
The Brazilians were in full control throughout the half and they were unlucky to have extended their lead further, with Tebogo Langerman, Vilakazi and Thapelo Morena going close in the latter stages of the stanza.
Arrows showed a sense of urgency to come back in the game early in the second stanza and Danny Venter almost pulled a goal back ten minutes inside the second half with a volley at the far post but his effort missed wide, while Sanele Mathenjwa was denied by Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango moments later.
Mosimane then opted for a double change with 18 minutes remaining Tiyani Mabunda and Jeremy Brockie replaced Sirino and Lebohang Maboe for the remainder of the encounter.
With 13 minutes to play, Mathenjwa had another opportunity for the visitors after weaving his way on the right side of the box, but once again Onyango was on hand to deny the Arrows attacker in the box.
The hosts were able to see out the closing stages with relative ease to clinch a 2-0 victory that takes them two points clear at the top of the table with, while Abafana Bes’thende remain in tenth place.
Sundowns: Onyango, Langerman, Morena, Arendse, Nascimento, Kekana, Zwane, Coetzee, Vilakazi, Sirino, Maboe.
Subs: Pieterse, Lakay, Mabunda, Ngcongca, Mahlambi, Brockie, Soumahoro
Arrows: Mbaeva, Sibisi, Bilankulu, Mzava, Lunga, Matloga, Phiri, Venter, Motebejane, Mathenjwa, Mutizwa.
Subs: Naicker, S.Dube, Mathiane, Sibeko, L.Dube, Sabelo, Lamola.