Downs champions


Mamelodi Sundowns secured an eighth Absa Premiership title with a 3-1 win over Ajax Cape Town at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Saturday afternoon.

Khama Billiat, Ricardo Nascimento and Sibusiso Vilakazi found the back of the net for the Brazilians after Mosa Lebusa had opened the scoring for the visitors.

The Urban Warriors got off to the ideal start as Lebusa hammered home with two minutes on the clock. Rodrick Kabwe’s corner-kick beat a host of bodies at the near post before falling kindly at Lebusa’s feet and the Ajax Cape Town skipper made no mistake to stun the home crowd.

Sundowns went in search of an immediate reply and should’ve hit back in the 10th minute, but Percy Tau fired inches wide of goal with only Jody February to beat.

Tau, though, didn’t take long to make up for his earlier error as he weaved his way past a couple of Ajax Cape Town defenders before teeing up Billiat for an easy finish at the back post two minutes later.

Zakri came within inches of restoring the visitors lead in the 22nd minute. The Ivorian showed great composure in the box to control with his chest before firing at goal, but he was cruelly denied by the woodwork.

Sundowns followed Zakri’s near miss with a sucker punch seven minutes later as Nascimento converted from the spot after February brought down Billiat inside the area.

Vilakazi duly doubled the hosts lead in the 36th minute. The former Bidvest Wits skipper showcased great composure inside the area before guiding the ball past February to send the home fans into delirium.

Pitso Mosimane’s men showing exactly why they are the league’s best team with a first-half blitz to take a 3-1 lead into the break.

The second-half was a dull affair compared to the opening stanza as Ajax Cape Town found it difficult to unlock a resolute Sundowns defence.

With Muhsin Ertugral urging his players to get forward, this made the visitors vulnerable for the Sundowns counter and only February’s heroics kept Billiat from completing his brace on the hour mark. The shot-stopper with a world class save to keep out the Zimbabwean from point-blank range.

Tashreeq Morris and Grant Margeman squandered half chances at the other end of the pitch as the Urban Warriors grew increasingly frustrated.

Sundowns deserved winners in the end as they clinched yet another league crown with one round of fixtures in the 2017-18 season remaining.

Despite the defeat, Ajax Cape Town know that victory over Kaizer Chiefs on the final day of the season will secure safety with fellow relegation contenders Baroka FC and SuperSport United to do battle in Atteridgeville on the same day.

Mamelodi Sundowns (3) 3 (Billiat 12’ Nascimento pen 29’ Vilakazi 36’)

Ajax Cape Town (1) 1 (Lebusa 2’)

Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango; Langerman, Madisha, Nascimento, Morena, Mabunda, Kekana, Vilakazi (Manyisa 76’), Zwane, Billiat (Laffor 88’), Tau.

Ajax Cape Town: February; Kammies, Nhlapo (Julies 39’), Booysen, Lebusa, Nel (Malepe 62’), Margeman, Kabwe, Losper (Morris 62’), Lakay, Zakri.


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