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02 Aug 2008 14:47
Mamelodi Sundowns’ Chilean international midfielder Jorge Acuna was voted man of the match despite finishing on the losing side against Kaizer Chiefs in the Telkom Charity Cup semifinal at Mmabatho Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Acuna aptly summed up his team’s listless performance with the admission that “we are still struggling to find out who is who”.
The lesson for the listless, largely aimless Brazilians from their 5-3 penalty shoot-out defeat against a youthful and energetic Chiefs, after the teams had finished level 1-1, was that going on an off-season spending spree and acquiring 11 new, high-profile players is no guarantee of success.
Chiefs, who qualified for the later final of the three-game charity extravaganza against traditional rivals Orlando Pirates—also the recipents of a penalty shoot-out win in the earlier game against Platinum Stars—proved the point by delegating five youthful home-grown players to participate in the penalty shoot-out, with all of them having no trouble in beating veteran Sundowns goalkeeper Brian Baloyi.
A disappointing and uninspiring game, nevertheless, contested in stifling heat in North West province, never rose above the standard of a practice outing for the 60 000-strong crowd, with both teams struggling to find cohesion in this pre-season contest.
Chiefs opened the score in freakish fashion in only the sixth minute when Baloyi was penalised for handling a back-pass and Gerald Sibeko blasted the ball into the roof of the net from 8m following
the resultant free kick with the entire Sundowns team lined up on the goal line.
It was another “soft” goal in the 43rd minute that enabled Sundowns to equalise after new Chiefs defensive signing Gilbert handled the ball and Surprise Moriri slotted the ball into the net from the resultant penalty.
Sundowns dominated the second half territorially and reserve Chiefs goalkeeper Emille Baron, who had started the match in shaky fashion, came to light with three superlative saves.
But with much-vaunted new stars Sibusiso Zuma and Benedict Vilakazi having little meaningful impact on the proceedings—and midfield controller Ezrom Nyandor absent through injury—Sundowns laboured on to the end with little indication of controlling the proceedings.—Sapa
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