Kaizer Chiefs 0-1 Mamelodi Sundowns: Sirino strikes to blow PSL title race wide open
Gaston Sirino, Mamelodi Sundowns
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The Brazilians are now tied on points with Amakhosi following their win at Orlando Stadium on Thursday night

Gaston Sirino scored the only goal of the game as Mamelodi Sundowns beat Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 in a top-of-the-table clash played in Soweto on Thursday.

Amakhosi went into this encounter leading the Brazilians by three points, but the win sees the two sides equal on points with only three games to go. 

The Soweto giants, however, continue to occupy the first position as they have a better goal difference than the Tshwane outfit. 

Ernst Middendorp made five changes to the side that played to a 1-1 draw with Stellenbosch, with players such as Erick Mathoho and Lebogang Manyama returning to the starting line-up.

Khama Billiat started on the bench as the Amakhosi technical team opted for the young Keletso Sifama on the right-hand side of the midfield. 

On the other hand, Pitso Mosimane brought back Themba Zwane on the left-hand side with Mosa Lebusa partnering Motjeka Madisha at the back. 

After a lively start to the encounter, Sundowns got the first chance to open the scoring through Lyle Lakay but the left-footer couldn't beat Daniel Akpeyi.

It was end-to-end stuff from the early stages, and Chiefs should have opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Bernard Parker was played through on goal but the veteran midfielder decided to pick a pass instead of taking a shot with only Kennedy Mweene to beat. 

Sundowns won a free-kick in a promising area six minutes later and Lakay stepped up to take it. However, Akpeyi came to the party, parrying the curling effort out for a corner for his first real save of the evening. 

It was all Sundowns afterwards as Chiefs struggled to put together more than five passes in the final third.

In fact, they created a few good chances with Lazarous Kambole also getting the chance to break the deadlock but failed to connect with the ball from the edge of the box. 

Sifama was tightly marked on the right-hand side, and he often found himself struggling to beat his markers but most importantly, there was an obvious lack of support from his teammates. 

Sirino would then break the deadlock with a superb goal in the 34th minute after being cleverly played through by Zwane. 

This was the last thing Chiefs needed, given that they had no Leonardo Castro and Samir Nurkovic to come and rescue them, but they will have themselves to blame after Willard Katsande had failed to clear the lines from the back. 

Sundowns went into the break leading Chiefs 1-0, and Middendorp had to make changes to his starting line-up to change his approach for the second half. 

Middendorp made three changes at the start of the second half, throwing in Khama Billiat, Dumisani Zuma and Anthony Akumu.

The trio changed the complexion of the game, as Chiefs started playing with purpose and knocked the ball around, looking better in the final third of the pitch.

The first chance of the second half went to Chiefs as Bernard Parker fired from the distance only to be denied by Mweene. 

Zuma had a chance to restore parity in the 52nd-minute after a good combination move that saw Chiefs get behind the Sundowns defence.  

However, Mweene produced a brilliat save, denying the Amakhosi attacker the chance to make it 1-1.

Soon afterwards, Sundowns went into defensive mode, crowding their midfield and defence and subsequently making it difficult for Amakhosi attackers and approach to want to score from set-pieces. 

Middendorp threw everything at Sundowns, with Mathoho pushing upfront to play as a striker. 

The lanky defender would come close to beating Mweene in the near post with a clever backheel but the Zambia international went down his right to keep the ball out. 

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Sundowns soaked up the pressure, launched the ball forward and didn't do much attacking, especially after the introduction of Andile Jali and Lebohang Maboe. 

However, the only time they went forward nearly produced a goal after some sloppy defending from Akumu and Yagan Sasman, and Maboe was left kicking himself after his left-footed attempt rattled the upright. 

Ultimately, Sundowns won the match and moved level on 53 points with Chiefs going into the final three matches of the season.