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BILLIAT FIRES SUNDOWNS PAST DIKWENA

Khama Billiat’s late goal helped Mamelodi Sundowns beat Platinum Stars 2-1 in an Absa Premiership game at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Phokeng on Tuesday night.

The victory sees the Brazilians extend their unbeaten run and move up to fourth spot on the league log, while Dikwena remain 14th on the table after suffering their first defeat in 2017.

The Brazilians dominated possession in the early stages of the encounter – knocking the ball around nicely in the Dikwena half.

Percy Tau was well denied by Stars goalkeeper Mbongeni Mzimela at the near post six minutes into the game as the visitors fired the first warning.

The Dikwena goal-minder was beaten five minutes later when a beautiful build-up from the Brazilians was finished off by Themba Zwane.

The midfielder fired home impressive fullback Fares Hachi’s well-taken cross from the left to make it 1-0 to Sundowns – the defending league champions.

Anthony Laffor should have doubled Sundowns’ lead in the 22nd minute, but the skillful winger was denied by Mzimela, who was alert, from close range.

Stars winger Gerard Phiri Jr then made a great goal-line clearance keeping out Khama Billiat’s low effort four minutes later as Sundowns continued to dominate.

Laffor tried to make amends in the 41st minute, but Mzimela produced a fine save to ensure that the first half ended with the visitors leading 1-0.

Stars began the second half lively, pressing Sundowns and they were awarded a free-kick in the 49th minute after Zwane fouled Robert Ng’ambi.

Vuyo Mere then played the resultant set-piece into the Sundowns box and Sphamandla Mlilo headed home to make it 1-1 on a rainy night in Rustenburg.

With his side battling to regain control of the game, Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane pulled out injured Laffor for Leonardo Castro in the 62nd minute.

Tau should have done better when Thapelo Morena’s cross found him unmarked inside the Stars box eight minutes later, but he headed over the crossbar.

Sundowns keeper Denis Onyango was forced to deny Stars substitute Gift Links at the near post as Dikwena looked to snatch a later winner with 18 minutes left.

But Billiat and Man of the Match Tau combined brilliantly in the 83rd minute, and the former fired past Mzimela to seal a 2-1 win to Sundowns, who contained Stars in the remaining minutes.

Stars (0) 1 (Mlilo 49′)

Sundowns (1) 2 (Zwane 11′, Billiat 83′)

P Stars: Mzimela, Mlilo, Mwedihanga, De Jongh, Zulu, Ng’ambi, Mere, Mabena (Links 69′), Phiri Jr (Shilongo 87′), Ntuli, Nale (Msomi 73′).

Sundowns: Onyango, Hachi, Mohomi, Nascimento, Soumahoro, Laffor (Castro 62′), Billiat, Ngcongca (Morena 45′), Zwane (Zakri 82′), Kekana, Tau.

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