Lyle Lakay of Mamelodi Sundowns is challenged by Seth Parusnath of Golden Arrows during their Absa Premiership match at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont on Sunday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

DURBAN - Mamelodi Sundowns fluffed an opportunity to close the gap between themselves and the log leaders Kaizer Chiefs as they succumbed to a 3-2 defeat in a five goal thriller at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont on Sunday.

The defending league champions fine themselves 10 points behind Chiefs. They are now three games without a victory and have a mountain to climb to catch Ernst Middendorp's mighty conquerors. It is still too early in the season but Amakhosi are playing with fluidity and winning games. The hunger from Amakhosi is evident while Sundowns are struggling for consistency. They've got the Fifa break to fix their problems and come back strong.

It was always going to be difficult for Sundowns away from home. Abafana Bes'thende boast an unbeaten record in their own territory. Once again they showed why they are difficult to beat at home.

Sundowns broke the deadlock in the critical stages of the game. Thapelo Morena profited from from an exquisite cross from Tebogo Langerman on the left and side just four minutes before the interval. 

Morena finished with aplomb to beat Edmore Sibande between the sticks for Arrows. Arrows were caught flat footed at the back.

Abafana Bes'thende fluffed a number of chances in the first half. The misfiring, Knox Mutizwa was the culprit for Arrows infront  of goals.

Ntsoako Makhubela was orchestrating things in the middle of the park for Abafana Bes'thende. He was making all sorts of things for Arrows. His silky skills and deft touches were troubling Sundowns.

Denis Onyango committed a blunder to allow Arrows to get back in to the game. Danny Phiri tested the Ugandan from distance but Onyango failed to handle the ball. The surface was wet and that goals may have been from the results of the conditions. Abafana Bes'thende restored parity 61 minutes in to the game.

Mutizwa saved his blushes in the 72and second minutes when he showed great composure in the box to beat Onyango. It was a goal that was made in Zimbabwe. Divine Lunga combined with Mutizwa.

The Zimbabwean talisman completed his brace in the 80th minute from a penalty spot. Brandon Patusnath was brought down in the box by Modjeka Madisha and Abongile Tom penalised the defending champions. Mutizwa rattled the net with a well taken penalty.

Andile Jali gave Sundowns a glimmer of hope in the last two minutes of the game but Sundowns couldn't conjure up a come back.

@Minenhlecr7

IOL Sport