/ 17 December 2015

Sundowns trounces Amakhosi in title win

Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel in Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth.
Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel in Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth.

Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango saved two penalties as his side romped to a 3-1 win over Kaizer Chiefs in the Telkom Knockout final at Moses Mabhida Stadium, in Durban, on Reconciliation Day.

Sundowns were creative and dominant throughout the 90 minutes with Leonardo Castro, Thabo Nthethe and Hlompho Kekana scoring goals, while Chiefs in contrast showed little going forward. Testament to the one-sided nature of the contest was that both times Onyango was properly tested, was when the shot-stopper saved a pair of Chiefs penalties in the space of 13 minutes in the second half.

In the six previous cup final encounters between Chiefs and Sundowns, five went to penalties. And almost even more incredibly, the Soweto giants had won all six final showdowns. On this occasion, it would be Sundowns who produced the goods to walk away with the trophy.

While Chiefs controlled the opening exchanges, Sundowns proved lethal on a counter-attack against the run of play. Khama Billiat showed good composure in the box as he deflected the ball into the path of teammate Castro, who headed home the opener in the fifth minute.

Approaching the quarter hour mark, Hendrick Ekstein had the first shot on goal for Chiefs but his half-hearted attempt was well-wide.

Chiefs were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position in the 18th minute, but the strike from Siphiwe Tshabalala was straight into the wall.

A night Chiefs would like to forget?
After the break, Sundowns began toying with the Chiefs defence and it was Themba Zwane who made a swerving run into the area before unleashing a fierce attempt which Chiefs keeper Brilliant Khuzwayo did well to save.

From the ensuing corner, however, the Soweto Giants were not so lucky as Sundowns increased their lead in the 51st minute. Teko Modise sent in a curling ball and Nthethe rose above the Chiefs defence to make it 2-0 from inside the six-yard area.

Immediately after the restart, Chiefs produced a flowing move with the final ball falling to George Lebese, but his shot from close range was scuffed wide.

On the hour mark, Chiefs were awarded a penalty when Bernard Parker went down in the area. Tshabalala stepped up to the spot, but had his strike brilliantly saved by a fully-stretched Onyango in the Sundowns goal to keep the two-goal margin intact.

Billiat went on a rampaging run in the 66th minute, and his well-struck attempt from inside the box was deflected wide by Khuzwayo who stuck out his leg, and denied Sundowns increasing their lead once again.

Chiefs were awarded a second penalty in the 73rd minute, Camaldine Abraw took it upon himself to grab a goal for his side, but again Onyango proved unshakable as he pulled off another stunning save to deny Chiefs a way back into the game.

Sundowns made it three in the 81st minute when Kekana produced a trademark strike from the edge of the area, and in the process ended the match as a contest.

With time virtually up deep into injury time, Abraw headed home a goal, which proved all but scant consolation on a night Chiefs would prefer to forget.