Mamelodi Sundowns made the most of their chances to secure a hard-fought 2-0 win against Kaizer Chiefs in a PSL match at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Sunday evening.
Grant Kekana gave the Brazilians an early lead before Peter Shalulile made the points safe with his second-half effort.
The result would be a particularly frustrating one for Amakhosi coach Stuart Baxter as it was arguably his side who enjoyed more of the chances and the game was indeed closer than the scoreline suggests – there was also a late penalty miss for the visitors.
Chiefs started the game brightly and were close to scoring in the sixth minute when Keagan Dolly connected with a volley in the box, but his less favoured right-foot was unable to keep the ball under the crossbar.
The miss was made all the worse when Sundowns took the lead just three minutes later, somewhat against the run of play. The goal was a soft one from Chiefs’ perspective as Kekana was afforded space at the back-post where he out-jumped Austin Dube to head home a free-kick from Lyle Lakay.
While Amakhosi responded positively to the setback as they tried to get back on the front foot, it was Sundowns who had the next chance on goal when Shalulile’s header flashed across the goal and wide of the far post.
As the game opened up nicely, Chiefs had chances with Samir Nurkovic, who headed straight at Denis Onyango, and Dolly, who beat a couple of defenders before firing a low shot just wide from the edge of the area.
Nurkovic then missed a golden opportunity to level the scores in the 28th minute when, on the stretch, he headed over an empty net after Onyango had misjudged Dolly’s cross to the back post.
The Serbian striker also spurned a decent chance just before the interval when he failed to connect with a volley on the angle, following a clever flick at the back-post from Khama Billiat.
The Soweto side continued to create chances after the restart and looked set to equalise in the 57th minute when Daniel Cardoso flicked Billiat’s free-kick towards the back-post, where Sifiso Hlanti came storming in with a header only for Onyango to make a brilliant reflex save.
Once more the Pretoria team were to punish the Glamour Boys for not being more clinical as they doubled the scoreline in the 63rd minute with an emphatic volley from Shalulile after Neo Maema had wriggled free down the left before crossing.
With 10 minutes to go, Chiefs were gifted the chance to pull one back when a penalty was awarded to them after Cole Alexander’s cross struck Rivaldo Coetzee’s arm.
But, highlighting their struggles in front of goal on the day, substitute Lebogang Manyama failed to score as his spot-kick crashed into the woodwork.
Chiefs pressed hard for a goal in the closing 10 minutes but never looked likely to break down a well organized Downs defence.