Sundowns’ nightmare continues
Mamelodi Sundowns’ horror run of form continued on Sunday when they were defeated 2-0 by Moroka Swallows in an Absa Premiership match at Dobsonville Stadium.
First half goals from Lerato Chabangu and Felix Obada were enough for the Birds to claim all three points on offer and extend their dominance over the Brazilians this season, having eliminated them from the MTN8 at the semifinal stage.
‘Downs coach Johan Neeskens must be on the brink of being relieved of his duties, with his side having lost five of their last six league and cup matches and trailing log leaders Kaizer Chiefs by a whopping 12 points just six rounds into the season.
The hosts handed a debut to new signing Dikgang Mabalane in the absence of Bennett Chenene, while the visitors from Pretoria went with Eleazar Rodgers up front and left the likes of Nyasha Mushekwi and Edward Manqele on the bench.
Swallows surged ahead as early as the seventh minute as Lerato Chabangu once again haunted his former team: the attacker beat goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands to a through ball from Katlego Mashego to poke home his third goal against the Brazilians this season (having netted twice against them in the MTN8).
Sundowns came close to drawing level on the 20 minute mark through Hlompho Kekana, but Greg Etafia kept out the midfielder’s fierce shot and was then relieved to watch Tebogo Langerman miss out on the rebound.
Kekana threatened again from a free kick on 29 minutes, but Etafia was equal to the task and palmed the ball over the crossbar for a corner kick. Set pieces and long-range attempts seemed the Brazilians’ best hope of a goal in the first half, as their general play lacked rhythm and penetration.
Swallows extended their advantage in the 33rd minute thanks to a brilliant goal from winger Felix Obada, who fired home a long range shot that went in off the underside of the crossbar and gave Sandilands no chance whatsoever.
Sundowns opted for a change at half time, replacing Elias Pelembe with Nyasha Mushekwi, but they almost went further behind within the first minute after the restart after a rare mistake from Sandilands that gifted the ball to Mashego, but the striker was unable to capitalise.
On 57 minutes the Birds almost scored through another long range screamer. This time it was captain Lefa Tsutsulupa who let fly from 20-plus metres out, but his effort rebounded off the crossbar.
‘Downs also found the woodwork, with Eleazar Rodgers seeing his looping header hit the top of the crossbar before bouncing out for a goal kick in the 70th minute. It was one of the few instances in which the tall striker was given decent service from out wide.
Substitute Edward Manqele also rattled the bar, on 78 minutes, after turning inside his marker in the penalty area before firing off a left-footed effort was beyond the reach of Etafia.
In the end Sundowns lacked the necessary spirit to fight their way back into the game and the Birds were able to see out the dying minutes in relative comfort, picking up a win which takes them to fifth place on the table. ‘Downs remain in 14th.
Moroka Swallows (2) 2 (Chabangu 7’, Obada 33’)
Mamelodi Sundowns 0
Swallows: Etafia, Mapemba, Hendricks, Mungomeni, Lekgothoane, Mabalane (Makhanya 86’), Nergadze, Tsutsulupa (Khumalo 68’), Chabangu (Mathebula 80’), Obada, Mashego
Sundowns: Sandilands, Mabaso, Schut, Daniels, Masenamela, Kekana, Nyandoro, Nyatama, Pelembe (Mushekwi 46’), Rodgers, Langerman (Manqele 61’)