Rulani Mokwena. Picture: ANESH DEBIKY / GALLO IMAGES
Rulani Mokwena. Picture: ANESH DEBIKY / GALLO IMAGES

Premier Soccer League (PSL) leaders Mamelodi Sundowns returned to winning ways after they beat troubled Eastern Cape side Chippa United on Monday.

Sundowns went into the game on the back foot after an unexpected 2-0 defeat to CR Belouizdad in the Caf Champions League at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Friday ended their 28-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

Chippa‚ who have troubles of their own‚ were expected to take advantage of the situation but Sundowns were able to recover on time and delivered a 2-1 win that will have sent a message to their PSL rivals.

Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena had claimed on the eve of the match that they were reeling after the Belouizdad defeat but based on their performance at Sisa Dukashe Stadium‚ he may have exaggerated their distress.

The Pretoria side made their intentions clear when Themba Zwane fired the visitors into the lead from the penalty spot in the 16th minute. The referee ruled Riaan Hanamub had fouled Aubrey Modiba in the area.

Zwane stepped up to the plate and beat Ugandan goalkeeper Ismail Watenga from the spot.

Chasing the game the home side were rewarded when Augustine Kwem equalised early in the second period.

Kwem perfectly timed his run between the Sundowns defenders and after he received the ball‚ he shot past outstretched Sundowns goalie Denis Onyango to bring the Eastern Cape side level in the 49th minute.

The goal gave Chippa a confidence boost and they began to make forays into the Downs area. When they could not trek back on time‚ the visitors found Watenga in inspired form. The home keeper was the reason the final score was respectable and he made a series of saves that will have given his boss Siviwe Mpengesi hopes of escaping the relation guillotine.

Sundowns continued to press and were rewarded when Peter Shalulile gave them the lead in the 74th minute.

The visitors’ coach, Manqoba Mngqithi, said Chippa will trouble many sides in the coming weeks‚ especially at home‚ and the Brazilians were happy to get away with all the points.

Chippa coach Siyabulela Gwambi said they were unlucky to lose. “I think we executed our plan very well‚” he said. “We knew that they would look for wide spaces‚ overloading on one side and in some instances look at pushing their wingbacks forward. So our approach was to tell our wingers not to go forward‚ and wait for them to start committing.”

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