Motjeka Madisha (centre) celebrates after scoring for Mamelodi Sundowns on Sunday. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu, BackpagePix

ORKNEY – Mamelodi Sundowns moved to within four points of the top of the league table following a hard-fought 1-0 win over Free State Stars at the James Motlatsi Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

In a game in which Sundowns had to work hard for victory, the difference proved to be a superb strike by up-and-coming Brazilians defender Motjeka Madisha just before halftime.

Ea Lla Koto, who remain only a point above the drop zone, had the first chance of the match when Danny Venter showed some wonderful skill before setting up Mohammed Anas, but he fired wide of goal.

Khama Billiat had Sundowns’ first chance of the game, on 25 minutes, but was denied by a Thela Ngobeni save.

The Pretoria team struck just seconds before the break when the home side failed to clear a Billiat corner and the ball fell for Madisha, who finished clinically into the bottom corner.

Sundowns looked to increase their lead after the interval and created chances, but substitute Anthony Laffor didn’t seem to have brought his scoring boots as he missed several chances.

Ngobeni then made a good save to keep out a Hlompho Kekana free kick as Downs continued to look for a second goal.

Masandawana were even closer to scoring 10 minutes from time when Kekana’s free kick struck the woodwork, before Ngobeni did brilliantly to deny Billiat from close range on the follow-up.

There were some nervy moments later for Pitso Mosimane’s side when Venter lined up a 92nd-minute free kick, but Denis Onyango made a superb save to ensure maximum points for the second successive time this week after a 5-0 win over SuperSport United on Thursday night.

Sundowns are in fourth position, just four points behind log-leaders Cape Town City, who have played two games more than the defending champions.

African News Agency (ANA)