Mamelodi Sundowns, Sports

Nedbank Cup: Sundowns survive EC Bees scare

Mamelodi Sundowns had to dig deep to pass through the Third Division side EC Bees into the Nedbank Cup Quarter Finals.

Sundowns came back from goal down to beat EC Bees 2-1 in the Nedbank Cup last 16 match at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Brazilians dominated possession in the opening stages of the game with Anthony Laffor looking lively for the hosts, who were looking to avoid a shock defeat to an ABC Motsepe League outfit.

Jeremy Brockie saw his header blocked, before his Sundowns teammate, George Lebese, forced Bees goalkeeper Khanya Mini into a good save as the hosts searched for an early goal in the first 15 minutes of the game.

The visitors then took a surprise lead when Bongani Chikile beat Sundowns shot-stopper Kennedy Mweene from close range to make it 1-0 to Bees after the home side’s defence was exposed in the 16th minute.

Sundowns, who won this lucrative tournament in 2015, piled pressure on the Bees defence as they played their usual enterprising football with the away side forced to defend in numbers.

A good move by the hosts on the half-hour cut open the visitors’ defence, but Themba Zwane’s effort was brilliantly saved by Mini, who put his body on the line to deny the Sundowns attacker.

The hosts were then forced to make an early change as Anele Ngcongca went down injured and he was replaced by fellow right-back Thapelo Morena.

Mini, who was having a good first half in Bees’ goal, produced two good saves to deny Laffor and Lebese with the halftime break fast approaching.

Sundowns were surprisingly trailing 1-0 against an unfancied Bees side at the interval.

It took only a minute for the Premier Soccer League (PSL) giants to level matters in the second half and it was Hlompho Kekana who scored with a thunderous long-range shot to make it 1-1 for Sundowns.

Kekana, who is a long-range specialist, tried to beat Mini again from distance in the 63rd minute, but this time the Sundowns captain miscued his shot and the Bees keeper made a comfortable save.

Sundowns piled pressure on the visitors’ defence and they deservedly took the lead for the first time through first-half substitute Morena in the 75th minute.

New Zealand international Brockie set up Morena, who made no mistake as he beat Mini to make it 2-1 to Sundowns, much to the delight of the home crowd.

The momentum was with the Brazilians in the closing stages of the game with Gaston Sirino and Zwane causing havoc for the Bees defence.

The Eastern Cape side was unable to snatch a late equalising goal and ultimately, Sundowns emerged 2-1 winners on the night.

Sundowns (0) 2 (Kekana 45′, Morena 75′)

Bees (1) 1 (Chikile 16′)

Sundowns: Mweene, Zulu, Madisha, Ngcongca (Morena 32′), Arendse, Kekana, Lebese (Sirino 58′), Zwane, Laffor, Sekotlong, Brockie (Makgalwa 81′)

Bees: Mini, Vandala (Maqokolo 41′), Gawe, Mhlakaza, Zondeka, Bisha, Mtule, B.Dlamini (Ntingiso 83′), Motshabasi, Tshange (Dlamini 50′), Chikile.