/ 23 March 2008

Sundowns overcome Mauritian opposition

In-form Premier Soccer League champions Mamelodi Sundowns eased to a 3-0 victory over the unsophisticated Curepipe Starlight of Mauritius in the MTN Champions League’s first-round, first-leg encounter at the Super Stadium in Atteridgeville on Saturday.

Sundowns’ goals were scored from stunning headers by Peter Ndlovu, Surprise Moriri and Brain Aldave.

Ndlovu opened the scoring in the 29th minute, heading in his Zimbabwean compatriot Esrom Nyandoro’s left-foot cross. Ndlovu scored with a diving header when tightly marked by two Starlight defenders inside the penalty box.

The Pretoria-based team were in control in the first half and wasteful finishing prevented them from going into half-time with more than one goal.

Fanyani Dhladhla and Shere Lekgothoane each missed close-range chances in the early stage of the first half, while Lerato Chabangu’s shot at the edge of the penalty box in the 35th minute went over the bar after he had dribbled past two Starlight defenders.

Starlight got an opportunity in the 43rd minute, but Sundowns goalkeeper Calvin Marlin reacted fast to Joseph Marmite’s clever through pass to Wesley Marquette. That was the only time Starlight bothered Marlin in the whole game.

Sundowns continued their dominance in the second half and extended their lead in the 52nd minute with Moriri heading in Chabangu’s long-range pin-point pass to him inside the penalty box.

Sundowns continued to bully the Mauritian team and, feeling the pressure, Starlight had more than 10 men at the back with only Marquette left alone at the upfront.

In the 65th minute, Sundowns coach Trott Moloto introduced Brian Aldave for Moriri and Josta Dladla for Dhladhla in the 67th minute, hoping to unlock the visitors’ packed defence. The former Bafana Bafana coach’s replacements worked in the 83rd minute when Aldave added the third goal from Ndlovu’s right-foot cross.

Sundowns will travel to Mauritius for the second-leg Champions League encounter against Starlight in two weeks’ time. — Sapa