Motjeka Madisa of Mamelodi Sundowns clears ball from Edgar Manaka of Polokwane City during Absa Premiership 2017/18 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Polokwane City at Loftus Versveld Stadium, Pretoria South Africa on 22 August 2017.
PRETORIA – Polokwane City, against all odds, clinched a surprise 2-1 win over Mamelodi Sundowns in an Absa Premiership fixture played at Loftus Versveld on Tuesday night. Polokwane led 1-0 at halftime.
Sundowns may be the reigning African champions and many people’s favourites to win the league title this season, but Polokwane dug deep to ensure they shut out the Pretoria team’s marauding attackers.
Sundowns made the early running, with Percy Tau and Thokozani Sekotlong prominent in their team’s offensive moves. The Pretoria side kept up the pressure, using their trademark passing style to try and break down the resolute opposition from Polokwane.
Themba Zwane had an opportunity to put Sundowns in the lead but failed to make the most of it. Sekotlong continued to be troublesome – he had another two chances to score, but the first was saved by Polokwane goalkeeper George Chigova and the second, a powerful shot, failed to hit the target.
But, throughout Sundowns’ dominance, Polokwane were always threatening on the break, especially via the pace and hard-running of striker Rodney Ramagalela. With Sundowns not making the most of their opportunities, the stage was set for a goal on the counter – and that was exactly how it panned out when Ramagalela gave Polokwane the lead against the run of play in the 35th minute.
Sundowns should have levelled just before the break, but Chigova saved brilliantly to deny Tau and captain Hlompho Kekana scorched a long range attempt wide.
Ten minutes into the second half, though, Sundowns equalised from the penalty spot. Polokwane defender Thapelo Tshilo was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area – and George Lebese stepped up to convert to net his first goal since signing for the Pretoria club from Kaizer Chiefs.
Sundowns continued to dominate, but again their inability to turn possession into goals came back to haunt them. Polokwane soaked up the pressure and made the most of their openings at the other end. And it was that man Ramagalela who gave Polokwane the lead again, this time firing in a thunderous long range strike to make the score 2-1 in the 70th minute.
Coach Pitso Mosimane then looked to the bench to inspire Sundowns, with Sekotlong and Lebese replaced by Yannick Zakri and Anthony Laffor.
With time running out, the African champions threw everything but the proverbial kitchen sink at Polokwane, in a desperate effort to draw level, but it was not to be. The team from the Limpopo Province hung on to pull off the upset victory.