/ 20 September 2007

Downs leave Wits singing the blues

Providing an encore performance after their success in the Supa8 Final against Orlando Pirates on Saturday, Mamelodi Sundowns left Wits University singing the blues while securing a 3-1 Premier League victory at a vibrant, pulsating Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Brazilians opened the score through Josta Dladla as early as the opening minute following incisive inter-passing by Brent Carelse and Dillon Sheppard and built on this stimulating start to go up 3-1 as early as the 24th minute.

The industrious Noah Chivuta had Wits University on level terms only minutes after Dladla’s goal after the Zambian star had ghosted his way into the penalty area, but a twin-barrel strike from Lerato Chabangu and Carelse within the space of three minutes left Sundowns’ in the driver’s seat — negotiating a comfortable and much-needed victory.

The Premier League champions, bidding for a third successive title, started a somewhat desultory campaign by securing only a single point from their opening games against AmaZulu and Moroka Swallows and urgently needed to put their campaign back on track.

Sundowns could not have achieved this in more emphatic fashion, although Wits deserve credit for fighting resolutely to the bitter end while tumbling to their first League defeat of the season through sloppy early defending.

But while Wits had more scoring opportunities, it was Sundowns who proved more potent in front of goal, with Democratic Republic of Congo striker Patrick Apataki only prevented from increasing the Brazilians’ lead when goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs swooped like a kingfisher and deflected a thunderous 20m shot onto the post.

Sundowns suffered a setback shortly before the kick-off when the crafty Surprise Moriri incurred an injury during the warm-up -‒ thereby giving last season’s footballer of the year, Godfrey Sapula, some invaluable match-time after a lengthy absence though injury.

Suspended Wits coach Roger de Sa began by watching the proceedings from the packed grandstand, but ended up patrolling the field’s security fence like a caged lion.

And Calvin Marlin, back in the Sundowns’ goal after making way for Brian Baloyi, generally demonstrated why he is widely regarded the number one goalkeeper in the country — with a timely headed clearance from outside his penalty area. – Sapa