Mamelodi Sundowns have re-established a four-point lead at the top of the DStv Premiership after a 1-0 win over Golden Arrows at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The result, secured by a goal from Gaston Sirino in the second half, sees the Brazilians claim a sixth win from seven outings and keep up their record of not having conceded a goal in the league this season.
In fact, ‘Downs have equalled a PSL-era record of 10 straight clean sheets (including three at the back end of last season) held by Wits University and set in 2003.Abafana Bes’thende, meanwhile, suffered a first home loss of the league season and drop to eighth place on goal difference.
Sundowns took their time to settle into the match, but had begun to find a passing rhythm by the quarter hour mark, when they were denied a strong claim for a penalty as Mthokozisi Dube got away with a two-footed challenge on Sibusiso Vilakazi.
Arrows had a couple of threatening moments around the midway point of the first half, with Pule Mmodi pulling a cross-shot wide of the far post from the right of the penalty area, before Velemseni Ndwandwe headed just wide of the mark from Dube’s cross.
The hosts continued to look the more proactive team as the half wore on, with Mmodi striking on target from long range on the half hour mark – for an easy save by Denis Onyango – while Ndwandwe ballooned a shot over the crossbar from the edge of the box.
Yet for all of Arrows’ endeavour and ability to get their attack moving on a difficult playing surface, the interval still saw the teams locked at 0-0.
Sundowns upped their game after the restart and claimed the lead in the 58th minute, with Gaston Sirino sweeping home a low shot from the ‘D’ of the penalty area which beat a diving Max Mbaeva to the goalkeeper’s right-hand side.
Arrows responded by sending on Siyabonga Khumalo and Nduduzo Sibiya off the bench, as well as striker Michael Gumede, but a more energetic press from ‘Downs meant the Durban side struggled to get forward with the same ease compared to the first half.
Yet the hosts did earn a somewhat dubious penalty – awarded for Khuliso Mudau trying to pull out of a challenge with Khumalo – but Gumede struck the spot kick wide of Onyango’s right-hand post on 78 minutes.The Brazilians were able to see out the remainder of the game in relative comfort to claim all three points and put clear daylight between themselves and nearest chasers SuperSport United.
Arrows will be back in DStv Premiership action on Saturday 23 October when they face Cape Town City away from home, while Sundowns will host AS Maniema Union for the return leg of their CAF Champions League second round preliminary tie at Loftus Stadium on Sunday 24 October.
Golden Arrows 0-1 Mamelodi SundownsSirino 58’Arrows: Mbaeva, M. Dube, Sibisi, Zuke, S. Cele, Mmodi (Fikizolo 58’), Ndwandwe, N. Dlamini, Magubane (Sibiya 65’), Mbhele (Khumalo 65’), Mutizwa (M. Gumede 72’)Sundowns: D. Onyango, Mudau (Morena 90’), B. Onyango, Lebusa, Modiba, Domingo (Nascimento 90’), Jali, Vilakazi (Mkhulise 64’), Sirino (Maema 84’), Kutumela, Shalulile© Backpage TXT