George Lebese of Mamelodi Sundowns plays ball away from Thuso Phala of Supersport United. Photo: Gavin Barker, BackpagePix

ATTERIDGEVILLE - As entertaining as the Tshwane Derby is, it’s close to being rendered a Mamelodi Sundowns training match, with SuperSport United supplying the personnel to give the Brazilians the impression of a real match.

The Brazilians easily stretched their four-year unbeaten run in the Absa Premiership by their cross-town rivals with a 2-0 victory on Saturday. 

This was like watching a group of artists against bouncers with sledgehammers. Sundowns painstakingly used their artistry to carve open a stubborn Matsatsantsa a Pitori side that defended deep and maintained their shape like statures.

SuperSport used their strength to hammer any threat. 

This wasn’t surprising. Sundowns have been the dominant force in previous meetings between these Tshwane giants. 

SuperSport came into this match without a win over the Brazilians in the league since 2013 and last season they were thumped 5-0 in the first leg.

Matsatsantsa played like the plan was not to lose by much. An army of blue surrounded Themba Zwane whenever he made his way into the box but none challenged him with intent as he tormented the hosts with his skills. 

Zwane danced past Dean Furman and Reneilwe Letsholonyane before unleashing a well-placed ground shot to put Sundowns comfortably ahead.

If Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter, who was in the stands, wasn’t impressed before – that run and goal should have sealed the deal in Zwane securing a place in the Bafana team that will travel to Cape Verde next month for their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. 

Zwane is finally living up to the lavish praises that Clive Barker showered him with, going as far as to say that he reminds him of the legendary Doctor Khumalo.

But for all Sundowns’ artistry, SuperSport briefly found a way to frustrate the Brazilians by piling a lot of bodies in front of them. The Brazilians scored the opener by fighting fire-with-fire through Hlompho Kekana whose legs are sledge-hammers. 

The Sundowns captain blasted his team ahead with a shot that wasn’t vintage Kekana but had all the hallmarks of his famous thunderous shorts outside the box. This one was more placement and just enough power.  

His goal delighted the fans, who sang "Pitso o dumedise Manyisa le Lebese, rea cha ra tuka", which translates to "Pitso (Mosimane) send our greetings to (Oupa) Manyisa and (George) Lebese, (tell them) we’re on fire". 

The pair, who were on opposing ends in the Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, started in their first Tshwane Derby. They are yet to set the scene alight in the capital as they are still finding their feet.  

Matsatsantsa are also still gelling under new coach Eric Tinkler. The tactical discipline is there but being explosive in attack, like Tinkler prefers, still needs some fine-tuning. 

SuperSport played the last 15 minutes a man down after their captain Dean Furman was sent off for two bookable offences.

Once again the fans let down the this match by not packing the stadium even though this city now boasts being the first in the country with quarterfinalists in the Caf Champions League and Caf Confederation Cup in the same year. 

The only thing missing now to complement their success is to at least play in front of a packed crowd in their Derby as both teams seemed to have resigned themselves to the lowly number of supporters they currently attract.


IOL Sport

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