Kaizer Chiefs end Downs’ Record-Breaking League unbeaten Start

Kaizer Chiefs have become the first team to defeat Mamelodi Sundowns in the DStv Premiership this season, claiming a 2-1 away win over the reigning champions and league leaders at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The come-from-behind victory for the Amakhosi – secured by an own goal and a strike from Dumisani Zuma, both in the final quarter of the match – sees them rise to eighth place on the log, displacing Baroka FC on goal difference.

The Brazilians, meanwhile, remain in charge of the title race despite the defeat, enjoying a three-point lead at the head of the table (as well as two games in hand), though missing out on the chance to go through the entire league season undefeated will be a bitter pill to swallow.

Sundowns made the early running and enjoyed most of the possession, but it was Chiefs who created the better chances in the opening half-hour. That included a slick change of flanks in the 12th minute which allowed Reeve Frosler a volleyed chance – which was well blocked by Lyle Lakay – and a speculative volley from Leonardo Castro a short while later which stemmed from good pressing high up the field.

The Amakhosi should have claimed the ascendancy on the half-hour mark when a fine passing move ended with Khama Billiat chesting a cross into the path of Castro, who moved the ball onto his right foot and had only goalkeeper Denis Onyango to beat, but blazed a shot over the target.

Sundowns then showed their class in attack, with Gift Motupa and Themba Zwane combining beautifully to send Gaston Sirino through on goal – the Uruguayan skipped past Itumeleng Khune and fired home from a tight angle to put the hosts 1-0 up in the 35th minute.

Chiefs suffered another blow late in the first half when they were forced to withdraw Billiat with what appeared to be an ankle injury sustained in an earlier challenge with Andile Jali. Dumisani Zuma rose off the bench to replace the Zimbabwean in the final minute of regulation time, and the half soon ended with the Tshwane side 1-0 to the good.

The teams cancelled each other out for the first quarter-hour of the second stanza, before Chiefs opted to freshen up their attack with the introduction of Samir Nurkovic. Ironically enough, it was Downs who almost immediately carved open their opponents’ defence, with Sirino doing great work to tee up Lebohang Maboe, but the attacker opted to take a touch rather than shoot first time and the opening was wasted.

Nurkovic then played a major role in the equaliser on 72 minutes, with the substitute’s cross from the right deflecting off Mosa Lebusa and finding its way past goalkeeper Onyango, who had already started moving off his line in anticipation of intercepting the ball.

Just two minutes later the Amakhosi netted again and claimed the lead for the first time: Njabulo Blom played a perfectly weighted and timed pass from midfield to send Zuma through on goal, and the attacker showed great composure to stab a low shot past the keeper to make it 2-1.

The Brazilians responded with a triple substitution, sending on Kermit Erasmus, Ricardo Nascimento and Aubrey Modiba. Erasmus came the closest to saving the game for the hosts, with his long-range strike in injury time tipped over the crossbar by Khune to see Chiefs claim a famous victory.

The teams will return to DStv Premiership action this coming Wednesday, 28 April, with Sundowns at home to Golden Arrows and Chiefs hosting Chippa United.

Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 1 (Sirino 35’)
Kaizer Chiefs (0) 2 (Lebusa og 72’, Zuma 74’)

Sundowns: D. Onyango, Morena, B. Onyango (Nascimento 79’), Lebusa, Lakay (Modiba 79’), Coetzee, Jali (Mvala 73’), Maboe, Zwane, Sirino (Mkhuma 85’), Motupa (Erasmus 79’)

Chiefs: Khune, Ngezana, Mathoho, Cardoso, Frosler, Parker, Manyama (Nurkovic 63’), Blom, Zulu, Billiat (Zuma 45’), Castro (Baccus 81’)

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