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Sundowns get title defence off to winning start

For all their dominance, Pitso Mosimane’s chargers were not able to create any clear-cut chances and were reduced to long-range efforts.

Sundowns forward Sibusiso Vilakazi. Picture: Twitter/@Masandawana

JOHANNESBURG - Mamelodi Sundowns took on SuperSport United in their opening of the 2019/20 Absa Premiership as they got their title defence underway with a hotly contested Tshwane derby.

Sudowns started the game on the front foot with the hosts dominating the early exchanges.

The first chance of the match fell to Themba Zwane who just couldn’t lift the ball over an onrushing Ronwen Williams in the SuperSport goal.

Moments later and shot stopper was called into action again.

This time the Bafana Bafana keeper denying Hlompo Kekana from long range. The Sundowns skipper latching onto a loose ball in the edge of the box with Williams tipping the ball onto the crossbar.

Masandawan’s dominance would eventually pay off in the 22nd minute.

Sibusiso Vilakazi with a brilliant first-time effort from outside the box that cannoned into the underside of the crossbar and just crossed the line. The hosts taking the lead midway through the first half.

The visitors' only real effort on goal in the opening stanza came from Bradley Grobler, when on the half hour mark he fired straight at Denis Onyango from close range.

The defending champions saw out the rest of the first half with relative ease as they took a 1-0 lead into to the half time break.

Masandawana continued to dominate possession in the early stages of the second half, forcing the visitors to play on the counter-attack.

For all their dominance though, Pitso Mosimane’s chargers were not able to create any clear-cut chances and were reduced to long-range efforts.

Sundowns were almost on the receiving end as the game moved into the final 15 minutes.

A free kick whipped in from the sideline was deflected towards goal with Grobler getting a toe on the loose ball.

Once again Onyango was up to the task from close range as the ball fell to Ghampani Lungu whose follow-up was blocked with the goal beckoning.

Sundowns would have the final say as Zwane slotted the ball home after a quick counter-attack to secure the hosts a 2-0 win in their opening game and bragging rights over their Pretoria rivals.

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