How Gaston Sirino has filled Khama Billiat's void at Mamelodi Sundowns

Goal takes a look at how the South American attacker has filled the void left by the 2015/16 PSL Player of the Season at the Brazilians

Mamelodi Sundowns needed someone to rise and fill the void left by Khama Billiat prior to the start of the current season.

The Zimbabwean forward departed the Chloorkop-based giants having played an important role in helping Sundowns clinch seven major trophies during his five-year stay with the club.

Gaston Sirino was touted as Billiat's possible replacement when the Uruguayan forward joined the club midway through the previous campaign.

Khama Billiat, Mamelodi Sundowns, May 2018

Sundowns were obviously preparing for a possible life without Billiat, who had rejected numerous contract offers from the club and ultimately joined Kaizer Chiefs on a free transfer in July 2018.

Sirino, who was expected to take some time to adapt to the rigors of South African football, had big shoes to fill in his maiden full campaign with the Tshwane giants.

The diminutive attacker had a slow start to the current season failing to score in his first 10 matches in all competitions, but he was showing glimpses of his quality at the same time.

His club teammate and fellow attacker Sibusiso Vilakazi suffered a long-term injury in October 2018 and Sirino had to step up to the plate and deliver.

Gaston Sirino PS

That is exactly what the former Bolivar player did as he scored winning goals against both Bloemfontein Celtic and Chippa United in back-to-back matches in the same month.

A man of the match performance followed a month later as Sundowns began to surge up the Premier Soccer League (PSL) standings with Sirino establishing himself as the team's talisman by scoring twice in a win over Free State Stars.

Sirino ended 2018 in style as he propelled the Brazilians into this season's Caf Champions League group stages by scoring against Equatorial Guinea's Leone Vegetarianos and Libyan giants Al Ahli Benghazi.

The 27-year-old, who has grabbed three assists in 14 appearances in domestic competitions, has that creative ability in the final third to open up defences the same way Billiat did for five years.

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Gastón Sirino

Sirino, who scored 18 goals in 41 matches as his former side, Bolivar, clinched the Bolivian Premier League title in 2017, is enjoying his football at the Brazilians.

The former San Luis player is Sundowns' top goalscorer with six goals in all competitions and he looks destined to reach double figures this season.

Signs indicating that Sundowns will stand a good chance of enjoying another successful season if Sirino maintains his good form are definitely there, and this means Chiefs should be wary of the South American as the two teams prepare to clash on Saturday night. 

Sundowns don't really miss Billiat, although the Zimbabwean talisman has proven to be vital for the Glamour Boys thus far.