Sundowns outshine Free State Stars
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