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23 Dec 2007 06:47
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Gordon Igesund appeared as ebullient as a schoolboy who had raided the cookie jar after his team’s hard-earned 1-0 Premier league victory over Free State Stars at a sultry Goble Stadium in Bethlehem on Saturday afternoon.
It was the defending champions’ first League victory in eight games, with the wolves baying for the coach’s blood.
Indeed, Igesund may well have been shown the door by club president Patrice Motsepe had this tricky encounter resulted in another loss.
Instead, the Sundowns coach was bubbling with enthusiasm after the final whistle.
The smartly-taken 66th minute goal from stalwart midfielder Esrom Nyandoro after good leading-up play from substitute Shakes Ngwenya seemingly made all the difference.
The win elevates the champions from the clutches of the relegation zone and the ever-optimistic Igesund is now talking of challenging for the League title—although at this stage it looks like an awesome mountain to climb.
And, while Sundowns enjoyed a clear territorial advantage over the never-say-die Stars, it was the Free State team who squandered a succession of gilt-edged opportunities.
On one occasion with the game still goalless early in the second half, Sundowns goalkeeper Brian Baloyi passed the ball directly to a Stars player in a position where it was easier to score than to miss.
But it was one of those days when Stars appeared as though they could play for a week of Saturdays without putting the ball into the net. - Sapa
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