Teko keeps Sundowns in title race

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iol spt apr4 Sundowns

Gallo Images

Kaizer Chiefs have dominated the PSL season but Sundowns have been making a late dash to hunt them down. Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images

Johannesburg - Mamelodi Sundowns kept the Premiership title race alive with a shock 1-0 win over defending champions and log leaders Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday night.

The outcome, which stunned the 45 000 crowd dominated overwhelmingly by Amakhosi supporters, was the result of a freakish 40-metre effort from Teko Modise in the 77th minute which still leaves Chiefs ahead of Sundowns by a one-goal difference and a game in hand.

But what was effectively a game worth six points for the winners - a defeat for Sundowns would have left Chiefs in cruise mode to retain their title - has now added a tingling degree of uncertainty surrounding the Amakhosi's last six matches and the five games remaining for Sundowns.

Recovering from a calculated assault on their goal in the opening 15 minutes, Chiefs systematically gained control of the proceedings with the game seemingly headed for a draw that would have been to Amakhosi's advantage, when Sundowns scored their vital goal against the run of play.

Modise crossed from the right flank for what appeared an attempted centre, but with Chiefs defender Morgan Gould and goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune and Sundowns substitute Khama Billiat all missing the looping ball it ended in the back of the net instead.

It was Chiefs' first Premier League defeat at the stadium this season, with Sundowns securing their sixth win in a row in what has been a striking end-of-season surge for honours.

But despite the tension and excitement, with a scuffle in the tunnel between the two teams reflecting the heated emotions, there were precious few on-target scoring opportunities from either side.

The play centred mainly in midfield until Khune brought off a stunning point-blank save for Chiefs from Lebohang Mokoena in the 29th minute following superb control and a pin-point cross from Mzikayise Mashaba on the left flank.

Mashaba had been one of the few dominant players on the pitch until he suffered a serious leg injury 10 minutes later and was taken to hospital, with Tebogo Langerman coming on in his place.

Sundowns appeared to lose steam after early creativity in the second period.

Gould headed onto the crossbar, and then Chiefs came within a whisker of scoring again when the ball was crossed off the goalline, with Zambian international goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene already well-beaten.

Mweene was seen in better light when he saved a point-blank shot from George Lebese that appeared to have goal written all over it, at a time when Sundowns appeared to have shot their bolt.

The winner emerged against the run of play with Chiefs seemingly content to go through the motions and achieve a draw - with few believing the game would be decided by a bizarre winner.

Sapa


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