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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

MTN 8: Late Sundowns goal spoils Chiefs attempt at first leg “smash and grab”

A late equalizer from Mamelodi Sundowns right wingback Khuliso Mudau gave his team a 1-1 draw at Kaizer Chiefs in the first leg of their MTN 8 semifinal clash. Edson Castillo gave Chiefs the lead around the hour mark but Mudau’s powerful header in second half stoppage time extended Sundowns’ unbeaten run against Chiefs to seven matches. The teams will meet again in Pretoria for the second leg on September 23.

After being on the wrong end of a 4-0 thrashing to Sundowns last season in league play little was expected of Chiefs but Amakhosi managed to keep the strong attack of their opponents at bay. Sundowns striker Lucas Ribeiro was the biggest threat to the Chiefs defense, setting up Themba Zwane to fire off target after flicking back a clever header in the 20th minute. Ribeiro then tested Chiefs goalkeeper Brandon Peterson with a long range effort later in the half but Peterson was up to the task.

It was more of the same Sundowns dominance early in the second half but Chiefs produced a moment of brilliance to snatch the lead against the run of play in the 61st minute. Striker Ashley du Preez received a pass from Tebogo Potsane and sent in a perfect early cross to find Castillo as the Venezuelan snuck in at the far post for a powerful diving header past Sundowns keeper Ronwen Williams.

Sundowns resumed their assaults on the Chiefs goal with a bit more urgency. Peterson came up with another impressive reaction save to deny Ribeiro in the 67th minute but the Sundowns response finally arrived in impressive fashion late on. Marcelo Allende collected a pass on the left wing and his early cross found the run of Mudau who crashed in with an overwhelming header that flew by the jumping Peterson and rattled in off the crossbar.

Highlights from the first leg are below. Stellenbosch will host Orlando Pirates tomorrow in the first leg of the other semifinal.