Sun­downs outshine Free State Stars

CityPress - - Soccer Special -

Mamelodi Sun­downs re­turned to win­ning ways in the Absa Pre­mier­ship with a 4-1 thump­ing of Free State Stars at Loftus Sta­dium in Tsh­wane yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

Khama Bil­liat scored against Stars for the fifth game in suc­ces­sion, with Kea­gan Dolly and Percy Tau also net­ting goals. Thokozani Sekot­long found the back of the net for the vis­i­tors.

Tau went in search of an early goal as he aimed to rekin­dle good mem­o­ries at the Tsh­wane sta­dium, with the diminu­tive for­ward see­ing his sec­ond­minute shot across the face of goal.

Sun­downs were in con­trol from the out­set, but were find­ing it dif­fi­cult to break down the Stars’ de­fen­sive line. This prompted a change in ap­proach for the Brazil­ians as Bil­liat let fly from range.

The Zim­bab­wean was bril­liantly de­nied by Stars’ Thela Ngob­eni, who is on loan at the Beth­le­hem-based club from Sun­downs, with 16 min­utes on the clock.

Leonardo Cas­tro, back in the start­ing 11 along­side Dolly and Bil­liat, chan­nelled his in­ner Os­carine Ma­su­luke on the half-hour mark, but un­like the Baroka FC goal­keeper, the Colom­bian failed to hit the tar­get with his bi­cy­cle-kick at­tempt.

Stars, though, had their chances with Si­fiso Mb­hele see­ing his header at­tempt canon off the wood­work, be­fore Moeketsi Sekola squan­dered a gilt-edged chance with only De­nis Onyango to beat.

The vis­i­tors were made to pay as Cas­tro and Bil­liat linked up for the opener, the lat­ter left with an easy fin­ish as the Brazil­ians’ pa­tience paid off with 43 min­utes on the clock.

But for all the good they had achieved a few sec­onds ear­lier, Sun­downs com­pletely switched off as Ea Lla Koto hit straight back from the pro­ceed­ing kick­off.

Bokang Thlone skipped his way past a few Sun­downs de­fend­ers – in­clud­ing one of his own – be­fore set­ting up Sekot­long. The for­mer AmaTuks and Mar­itzburg United striker curled the ball past an out­stretched Onyango as Stars hit the back of the net with their first shot on tar­get.

Two goals were scored in two min­utes as the teams en­tered the tun­nel at the in­ter­val, dead­locked at 1-1.

Sun­downs re­stored their lead in the 58th minute through Tau. Up to that point, Stars had held their own, but the Brazil­ians changed gear to great ef­fect.

The in-form at­tacker rose to the oc­ca­sion with a pre­cise header into the top corner from a Te­bogo Langer­man cross. Dolly dou­bled the hosts’ lead on the hour mark as Downs threat­ened to blow Ea Lla Koto out the park. The Rio Olympics skip­per linked up with Bil­liat and Cas­tro be­fore send­ing an un­stop­pable left-footed bul­let past Ngob­eni, who re­mained rooted to the spot.

Tau com­pleted his brace in the 79th minute. Fol­low­ing a lung-bust­ing run down the right flank, the Sun­downs ace cut in­side, leav­ing two de­fend­ers in his wake be­fore adding the fin­ish to match for a su­perb solo ef­fort. The 22-year-old had a chance to com­plete his hat-trick in the 88th minute, but this time Ngob­eni was up to the chal­lenge as Stars suf­fered a sixth de­feat of the sea­son.

Sun­downs jet off to Osaka in Ja­pan to­mor­row for the 2016 Fifa Club World Cup. – Backpage TXT


JOVIAL Percy Tau of Mamelodi Sun­downs cel­e­brates his goal with team-mates at yes­ter­day’s Absa Pre­mier­ship match against Free State Stars

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