Kekana, Morena guide Sundowns into Nedbank Cup quarters

Sundowns man Anthony Laffor

Mamelodi Sundowns made life difficult for themselves as they came from behind to defeat EC Bees 2-1 in their Nedbank Cup last-16 clash on Tuesday evening, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.

The third-tier outfit aimed to caused another upset in the Nedbank Cup after claiming the scalp of Orlando Pirates in the last-32 stage of the 2017 edition of the tournament.

As expected, Masandawana dominated proceedings from the offset, but for all their possession, they failed to threaten the minnows’ defence.

The first opportunity of the game arrived in the tenth minute when Anthony Laffor’s inch-perfect cross was met by Jeremy Brockie’s header, but the forward’s header was redirected for a corner.

George Lebese should have put his side ahead two minutes later after Laffor showed great resilience to dispossess the defender before allowing the former Kaizer Chiefs man the easiest of finishes, however the Bees goalkeeper pulled off a fine double save.

The minnows took the lead much against the run of play in the 15th minute when Bongani Chikila took advantage of some sloppy defending to give his side the lead.

Sundowns came agonsingly close to equalising when a deft one-two between Lebese and Zwane saw the latter find himself in a one-on-one position with the goalkeeper, however he was unable to get the better of the onrushing shot-stopper.

Bees goalkeeper produced his fourth and fifth point-blank range saves of the game to deny Laffor and Lebese moments before the half-time break.

The visitors made a tactical change in the 42nd minute in a bid to maintain their lead.

Sundowns drew level minutes after the restart of the second half when Kekana latched onto Zwane’s long ball before unleashing a fierce drive which left the goalkeeper no chance.

The home side introduced Gaston Sirino for the ineffective Lebese in the 60th minute. The change almost paid dividends five minutes later when Sirino’s ball into the area was met by Thokozani Sekotlong’s header, which went narrowly wide.

Sundowns took the lead for the first time in the game when Brockie’s cutback into the area was met by Morena, who made no mistake from within the area.

Pitso Mosimane’s side looked to put the result beyond doubt as they introduced Keletso Makgalwa for Brockie with minutes remaining, however neither side were able to add to their scores as Sundowns ran out 2-1 victors.

Sundowns XI: 1. Mweene, 38. Zulu, 20. Ngcongca, 6. Arendse, 32. Madisha, 17. Lebese, 28. Laffor, 8. Kekana, 19. Brockie, 18. Zwane, 37. Sekotlong.

Subs: 31. Brimah, 26. Sirino, 25. Ngoma, 15. Mohomi, 4. Langerman, 35. Makgalwa, 27. Morena.

Photo: Muzi Ntombela/Backpagepix