Golden Arrows 0-1 Mamelodi Sundowns – Sirino makes the difference in tight contest
Even after a busy week with Caf football, the Brazilians are yet to concede in this PSL campaign
Gaston Sirino’s second-half goal saw Mamelodi Sundowns reclaim their four-point lead at the top of the Premier Soccer League table following a 1-0 win over Golden Arrows at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium.
The Uruguayan forward scored his first goal of the season to separate the two sides in the 58th minute as Masandawana kept another clean sheet, their seventh in the league this season.
After second-placed SuperSport United beat Baroka FC last weekend to reduce the gap to just a point, Sundowns returned to domestic duties.
The Brazilians coaches picked Aubrey Modiba to play at left-back ahead of Lyle Lakay while Sibusiso was preferred to Pavol Safranko.
Goalkeeper Maximilian Mabeva was making his second league appearance for the hosts this term whose starting line-up was not surprising with the likes of Mthokozisi Dube, Knox Mutizwa and newly-capped Bafana Bafana defender Thabani Zuke.
It was a difficult afternoon for Sundowns as their opponents threatened them on many occasions.
The start of the match was a balanced affair in terms of exchanges but Sundowns almost went ahead through a Gaston Sirino curler only to be denied by Arrows goalkeeper Maximilian Mbaeva.
Some slack marking by Sundowns defenders in the 20th minute almost gifted Arrows with the opener but Pule Mmodi’s shot sailed just off target.
Two minutes later, the hosts came close again when an unmarked Velemseni Ndwandwe’s headed effort narrowly missed the target off a Dube cross from the right.
Ndwandwe was back again to shoot just over the bar from the edge of the box as Arrows got through a shaky Masandawana defence.
It was a moment where Arrows briefly enjoyed more possession although Sundowns managed to get themselves back into the game. Yet, they could not breach their opponents’ defence.
As Sundowns struggled to break the Arrows rearguard, Sirino gave them a reprieve when he connected from outside the box through an Andile Jali pass to give Mbaeva no chance.
Lehlohonolo Seema’s hosts had a golden chance to hit back when they were awarded a penalty after Khuliso Mudau had fouled Siyabonga Khumalo inside the box.
But substitute Michael Gumede missed from the spot in what saw Arrows more pressed to atone for that mistake.
Sundowns then managed to hold on to their slim lead until the final whistle. They now switch their attention to the Caf Champions League where they host Maniema Union on Sunday.