Denis Onyango the hero as Mamelodi Sundowns beat Cape Town City in MTN8 final in Durban
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At Moses Mabhida
Durban – Mamelodi Sundowns needed penalties to win their first MTN 8 title since 2007 as they recorded a 3-2 shoot-out victory over Cape Town City in a thrilling final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, played in front of a crowd of 2000 fans.
The game marked the first time that fans were allowed to attend a high-profile Premier Soccer League (PSL) game since the implementation of level five lockdown in early 2020.
In a rare event, the first four penalties of the shoot-out were missed as both teams saw their opening two spot-kicks missed. Andile Jali became the first to score before Terrence Mashego responded by also netting City’s third.
Both sides missed their respective fourth kicks before Neo Maema and Mpho Makola scored to force sudden death. After Mosa Lebusa and Tariq Fielies missed, Peter Shalulile scored Sundowns’ seventh before Thamsanqa Mkhize missed for City to hand the title to Masandawana.
The game which ended 1-1 after extra time was a close one and there is no doubt that more goals would have been scored had both goalkeepers not been in relatively good form.
Thapelo Morena gave Masandawana the lead in the 23rd minute after Thabiso Kutumela won the ball from Tariq Fielies before laying it off to Morena who slotted home coolly from close range.
City showed their fighting spirit to comeback in the 73rd minute through Fagrie Lakay who did press and probe the Downs defence. F.Lakay finished from close range after being teed up by Surprise Ralani.
Sundowns signaled their intent to attack early on as Lyle Lakay tried his luck from range but City goalkeeper Hugo Marques was aware to make a comfortable save.
City made it known that they would not offer the pre-match favourites too much respect as they too employed positive tactics. A burst early on from F.Lakay saw him play in Mduduzi Mdantsane who shot wide from close range.
Shortly after Sundowns took the lead, Masandawana keeper Dennis Onyango was forced to prove his class as he produced a fine save to deny F.Lakay before Mdantsane again scuppered a good chance by heading the rebound over.
The game started off with a fast tempo but that started to subside after Sundowns took the lead.
Sensing that City may have to expose their fragile defensive line in the second half, Sundowns made a tactical half-time change as goal poacher of note Kermit Erasmus was introduced for Kutumela.
Iduma Fasika had an opportunity to claw City level early in the second half as he met a sharp free-kick aimed towards the Sundowns back post but his effort was just wide.
Shortly afterwards, both goalkeepers were forced into eye-catching saves. First, it was Onyango who was tested by a deflected Ralani shot before Marques had to dive to keep out a long-range shot from Rivaldo Coetzee.
Just three minutes later, Themba Zwane was on the verge of doubling Sundowns’ lead but his shot struck the woodwork.
Sundowns had a free-kick from close range at the death after Thato Mokeke was judged to have fouled Neo Maema. L.Lakay went for goal from the resulting set-piece but struck wide.
City were reduced to ten men early in the second half of extra time as Fasika received his second yellow card but City held on to force penalties.
Sundowns next prepare to host Maritzburg United at Loftus Versfeld next Wednesday in a league clash. City next host Chippa United at the Cape Town Stadium next Wednesday.