Clinical Chiefs punish Sundowns to claim silverware
CAPE TOWN – Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro came back to haunt their former club as Kaizer Chiefs beat Mamelodi Sundowns 4-2 in the Shell Helix Ultra Cup at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The damage was done in a scintillating first half display from Ernst Middendorp's charges which saw Castro grabbing a hattrick and an assist, with Billiat getting on the score sheet himself and helping to set-up all three of his teammate's goals.
Masandawana were improved after the break and pulled a goal back through Jose Meza just after the interval before Gaston Sirino slotted home an injury time penalty.
Currently sitting top of the league table whilst playing some outstanding football and with several players due back soon from injury, the early signs are looking for the Glamour Boys, although it should be noted that Pitso Mosimane fielded somewhat of a second-string Sundowns team, especially in the first half.
Middendorp, however, was also without several players who would usually make the starting XI when fit and available.
Chiefs' early play suggested they were very much up for it and that was underlined when with just seven minutes played, Billiat beat the offside trap and went through on goal, his shot hitting the upright and falling to Castro, who fired in a brilliant left-footed volley after the ball had cannoned towards him at real pace.
Sundowns did have their fair share of possession, but as they struggled to create much in the way of openings, Amakhosi continued to look sharp and incisive.
And Chiefs were rewarded in the 31st minute when after some lovely interplay, Billiat's angled shot was parried by goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse into the path of Castro, who slid the ball in from close range to double the lead.
It had looked as if Sundowns would make it to the break just the two goals down, only for Amakhosi to strike twice in two deadly first half added-time minutes.
First it was Castro, who completed his hattrick with a header from Billiat's corner, having been left unattended.
And then Pieterse was to find himself picking up the ball from the back of the net against his former team for the fourth time when Billiat guided in a beautiful volley at the end of a sumptuous combination with Castro.
The Soweto side though were not to have things all their own way in the second half. And Daniel Akpeyi didn't help his cause in goal when after getting away with some risky play with the ball at his feet just after half time, he should probably have done better with Sirino's 61st minute shot, which he parried into the path of Meza – who fired into an unguarded net.
Sundowns continued to attack and Akpeyi did well to beat away a stinging effort from Sirino – whose introduction made a big difference, before Meza fired into the side-netting from another good chance.
To his credit Akpeyi went on to make a couple more good saves, although Sphelele Mkhulise only had himself to blame for not pulling another one back for Sundowns when he scuffed an 82nd minute shot wide from just six metres out.
After Chiefs substitute Keletso Sifama squandered a good chance for a fifth, the Brazilians further reduced the deficit with Sirino's last-gasp penalty.
African News Agency (ANA)