Bafana striker Mphela scores on his first start of the season as fortunes change for the Brazilians with third win of the season
Katlego Mphela announced his return from injury with a goal on his first start of the season as Mamelodi Sundowns moved away from the relegation zone with a 1-0 home win over Black Leopards on Sunday.
The ace marksman, twice the league’s leading scorer in the last three seasons, looked to have recovered sufficiently from his knee troubles to suggest he might yet make the Bafana Bafana squad for the upcoming 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Sundowns won only their third game of the season but climbed a morale-boosting two places in the standings to 12th spot in new coach Pitso Mosimane’s home debut.
Sundowns took some time to get out of the starting blocks but just before the 20-minute mark might have gone again through Nyasha Mushekwi, who miscued a pass from Tebego Langerman.
Mushekwi and Mphela presented two fresh changes in attack for Mosimane, who introduced a 4-4-2 system, and the combination of the two setup the first goal on 23 minutes with Mushekwi going down the left hand side to provide Mphela with a headed opportunity from close range.
Mushekwi should have made it 2-0 as he got blindside of defender Humphrey Khoza to latch onto a square cross but Ayanda Mtshali in the Leopards goal pulled off a good save.
Leopards came back strongly at the end of the half but still did not provide enough of a test for Wayne Sandilands in the Sundowns goal with a series of teasing balls into the Sundowns area.There were two penalty appeals in the second half that were turned down and a myriad of changes for Mushekwi but less of the thrills than the first half.