Sundowns beat Chippa to remain at top
Percy Tau came up with the goods again as Mamelodi Sundowns kept their noses in front in the Absa Premiership race by beating bogey team Chippa United 2-0 at Loftus Versfeld on Wednesday.
Sundowns had drawn their last three league games against the Eastern Cape outfit, and lost to them in the Telkom Knockout last October, but Tau’s 37th minute finish, followed by Khama Billiat’s goal 10 minutes from the end saw Pitso Mosimane’s team to an important points haul as they secured three vital points.
The Brazilians remain one point ahead of second placed Orlando Pirates and but still with a game in hand as the title race remains riveting.
Sundowns, now unbeaten in their last 12 games in all competition, fielded their strongest side despite having played on Sunday in the Nedbank Cup away in Cape Town while Chippa were fresh after a three-week break
The game failed to deliver any flow as a congested midfield and constant pressing meant a continual turnover of possession, although Sundowns managed to play with some style in the second half.
Chippa waited for their counter attack chances and the first came in the 19th minute with Kurt Lentjies playing the perfect forward pass, splitting the Sundowns defence and setting Linda Mntambo away.
But Denis Onyango rushed out to make a vital save and deny Chippa what would have been their first-ever away goal against Sundowns.
A defensive slip by Wayne Arendse allowed Mntambo a half chance some 10 minutes later but again Onyango was quickly off hjis line to smother the opportunity.
Sundowns did not test Daniel Akpeyi in the Chippa goal at all until their fortuitous opener.
Gaston Sirino’s cross was missed by both central defenders James Okwuosa and Ayabulela Konqoba and handed Tau an easy close-in finish despite a congested penalty area.
Tau’s goal was his 10th in the league this season, but he remains on behind Rodney Ramagalela of Polokwane City, who was also on scoresheet on Wednesday.
After the break, Tebego Langerman set up a chance for Sibusiso Vilakazi to score but Akpeyi made a good stop, as he did later in the half from Billiat’s free kick.
A superb passing move settled the game in the 80th minute with Themba Zwane’s clever back heel allowing Billiat to burst through and chip it past Akpeyi for the 2-0 scoreline.