MAMELODI SUNDOWNS HAVE BEEN CROWNED THE INAUGURAL CHAMPS OF THE SHELL HELIX ULTRA CUP
The pitch at the Soccer City was in tip top condition, credit to the grounds man if you just woke up from coma and thought that it was summer in South Africa you could easily be forgiven.
It was just a preseason friendly, but Mamelodi Sundowns’ second-string earning a 2-1 Shell Helix Ultra Cup victory at FNB Stadium against a full-strength Kaizer Chiefs did seem to reinforce a gap that still needs filling by Amakhosi this season.
The atmosphere was electrifying in Africa’s only stadium to have held a Soccer World Cup in the year 2010. Supporters from both Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns filled the stadium to the rafters with the home team in Kaizer Chiefs dominating in terms of fan base and making most of the noise via vuvuzela’s and Sundowns leading in Song.
The game got underway with both teams feeling the pitch and also testing tactics. On the 19th minute Karma Billiat was brought down but the referee was not impressed with his fall and allowed play to continue. Both teams strived to settle down by stinging a few passes together but the end result was not forth coming, with Chiefs mostly threatening the goal mouth of Sundowns in the earlier faces.
In the 21st minute of the game Sundowns fluffed a clear goal scoring opportunity after being awarded a free kick on the edge of the Chiefs box. Oupa Manyesa subsequently failed to control the ball unmarked only for Chiefs to regain possession but their exploits failed to cause any harm to the Brazilians.
Meanwhile on the sidelines the Kaizer Chiefs bench was more comfortable compared to the Downs bench as they where seated on their new NISSAN sponsored bucket seats for 2018/19 season.
Chiefs failed to take a lead on the brink of half time when Gustavo Paez missed a clear cut chase and then Billiat shot straight at Mweene with the goal at his messy, following a nice connection between Leornado Castro in the center pitch to Tshabalala on the wings who had whipped in a quality cross .
In the second stanza Chiefs then paid a hefty price after missing countless chances in the first half. Jeremy Brockie finally broke his Sundowns duck, albeit still unofficially, in front of a noisy 49 000 crowd on Saturday with his first goal for the club in the 53rd minute. Substitute Themba Zwane made it 2-0 in the 92nd.
Bernard Parker volleyed in Chiefs’ consolation deep into optional added time.
Chiefs, needing a recovery this season from three trophy less campaigns to quell their fans’ disgruntlement in the stands, fielded a near-full strength lineup, and Absa Premiership champions Sundowns a virtual B team.
Both sides had their chances in a decently energetic friendly. But Downs did enough to run out winners.
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