Sundowns too strong for Free State Stars
It took two moments of ruthlessly executed genius by substitute midfielder Percy Tau on either half to deliver this hard fought 2-1 win for Mamelodi Sundowns against Free State Stars at Goble Park on Monday night.
Originally only named on the bench by coach Pitso Mosimane, Tau arrived on the half hour mark to replace injured Anthony Laffor and he proved to be the difference with a brace of stunning match winning goals.
The first goal came two minutes from the break when Stars defender Mumuni Abubakar hacked him on the edge of the box and he dusted himself off to curl a delightful free-kick over the wall and beyond the outstretched hands of ‘keeper Badra Ali Sangare.
Sundowns were mainly frustrated by Stars with their compact game plan as they did not allow ball players George Lebese, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Oupa Manyisa to dictate terms.
Most of the hard work for the home side was done by Paulus Masehe, Nhlanhla Vilakazi and Mokhuoane with strikers Siphelele Mthembu and Edward Manqele playing on the counter.
Tau delivered another magical moment on the half hour mark as he unleashed a powerful curling drive from the edge of the box to beat ‘keeper Ali Sangare and ensure the three points.
Stars scored their goal in the dying seconds from a well-taken header by Vilakazi but it proved to be a scant consolation.
Sundowns went into this match disparate for maximum points after they were stunned by Polokwane City almost three weeks ago but they have moved to third spot on the log with six points from three starts.
After this, they shift their attention to the quarter-final of the Caf Champions League against Moroccan giants Wydad Athletic at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday.
And then they hit the road to North Africa in the return match in Casablanca six days later hoping to stay on course to defend their continental title.
Mosimane and his men only return to league action at the beginning of next month when they make the short trip to Platinum Stars at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace.
For Stars, who remain at the bottom half of the table, return to league action against Baroka on Saturday in Polokwane. - TimesLIVE