Cape Town — Mamelodi Sundowns' second-half goal blitz knocked a hitherto spirited Cape Town City stone cold, and they went down 2-0 in the DStv Premiership pipe-opener at the DHL Stadium in Green Point on Friday evening.
Both goals emerged in quick succession just past the hour mark. With this result, Sundowns sounded a loud warning that they are serious contenders to make it six consecutive Premiership wins on the trot by the end of the season.
After a tentative start, City sat back and allowed Sundowns, playing with a high line, to run at them. Sundowns took the initiative, and City settled for a defensive role but managed a few break-outs to stage counter-attacks down the right flank.
Sundowns eventually enjoyed an overwhelming 65% possession in the first half and managed nine shots at goal. Haashim Domingo, who was used as an attacking midfielder in Sundowns' unorthodox 4-1-2-1-2 formation, was best placed to score on at least three occasions.
Domingo rifled two thunderbolts from just outside the City penalty area around the half-hour mark and then later a lob after some clever build-up work by Sundowns.
City's goalmouth custodian Hugo Marques who won the 'Goalkeeper of the Year' award last season, cleared well when dealing with dangerous crosses into the striking zone. He was particularly effective when clearing Sundowns' five first-half corners.
City, however, had the better scoring chances earlier on. They could easily have taken a 2-0 lead if midfielder Thabo Nodada and the 18-year-old debutant Luke Daniels had exploited an excellent supply from Khanyisa Mayo, who outstripped the opposition defence every time he waged attacks down the right flank.
Cyril Martin, who was used on the right in City's five-man midfield, sparked a few penetrative counters that Sundowns found hard to contain. Martin's combination with Mayo was a strong feature of City's first-half play.
After goalless first half, Sundowns started the second half with a pressure spell and twice ace marksman Peter Shalulile was brought into play, without making his mark.
By this time, the game was crying out for a goal, and on the hour mark Sundowns played their set-piece card with great effect after City defender Keanu Cupido was blown up for a foul some 10 metres out from the penalty area. Sundowns fullback Aubrey Modiba stepped up with a curling free-kick over the ball and past the unsighted Marques for the opening goal of the match.
The celebrating Sundowns fans were hardly back in their seats when skipper Themba Zwane doubled the score after he was sent away by a fine feed from Domingo. With the City rearguard caught well out of position Marques was forced his line to deal with the threat but Zwane calmly slipped the ball into the unguarded net for the side's second goal in the space of as many minutes.
This goal sounded the death knell for City, who were never able to recover from the double setback.
It was a memorable debut for goalkeeper Ronwen Williams who started his Sundowns career with a clean sheet.