Mamelodi Sundowns extended their unbeaten run in the Absa Premiership with a 2-1 win over Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium in Soweto on Saturday afternoon.
Virgil Vries will bear the brunt of the backlash as his error late in the game gifted the Brazilians all three points. Lebohang Maboe netted the late winner for the visitors following goals from Anthony Laffor and Willard Katsande in the first half.
Victory moves Sundowns up to fourth place on the log standings while defeat leaves Chiefs in seventh, nine points off log leaders Bidvest Wits.
The Brazilians hit the front with three minutes on the clock. Always the man for the big occasion, the Liberia international got the visitors off to the perfect start with a superb goal.
Laffor cut in from the right flank before playing a neat one-two with Gaston Sirino before skipping past Katsande and firing into the corner of the net.
Chiefs went in search of an immediate reply and pulled level in the 14th minute through Katsande – another who rises to the occasion when the stakes are high. The Amakhosi captain quickest to react at the back post after ‘Downs failed to clear their lines from a free-kick.
Laffor squandered a chance to restore Sundowns’ lead in the 20th minute. The Glamour Boys defence were at sixes and sevens once more as the Brazilians carved them open, but Mario Booysen saved the day, clearing Laffor’s rasping shot off the line with Vries stranded.
The game continued to ebb and flow, but neither team could add to their tally before the break.
Bernard Parker emerged from the bench following the interval and almost made an immediate impact. George Maluleka teed up the forward who lost his marker inside the area, but failed to convert with his resulting header attempt.
Chiefs bossed proceedings for most of the half, but fell behind in the 81st minute following a dreadful error from Vries. The shot-stopper completely misjudged Lyle Lakay’s hopeful ball forward, leaving Maboe with the easiest of finishes.
The error proved decisive as the defending league champions got 2019 off to the perfect start.
Kaizer Chiefs (1) (Katsande 14′)
Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 2 (Laffor 3′ Maboe 81′)
Kaizer Chiefs: Vries; Walusimbi (Hadebe 46′), Cardoso, Booysen, Ntiya-Ntiya, Katsande (Mahlasela 71′), Maluleka, Ekstein (Parker 46′), Manyama, Billiat, Castro.
Mamelodi Sundowns: Mweene; Lebusa (Lakay 72′), Nascimento, Coetzee, Morena, Kekana, Mabunda, Sirino (Madisha 84′), Maboe, Laffor, Brockie (Mkhulise 72′).
SOURCED FROM THE PSL WEBSITE.