MAMELODI Sundowns have been crowned Absa Premiership champions for a third straight season on the final day of the campaign.
Sundowns were unchanged, with Lebohang Maboe, Themba Zwane and Gaston Sirino leading the front line supported by Promise Mkhuma while Leopards were without their talisman Mwape Musonda due to suspension.
The Brazilians were on the front foot in the early stages but only came close to breaking the deadlock just before the water break half-way through the first stanza after Maboe’s cross-cum shot missed the far bottom corner by a whisker.
Pitso Mosimane’s charges had a glorious chance to break the deadlock in the 32nd minute after they were awarded a penalty for a lunging tackle by Khomotso Masia on Zwane inside the box. However, Ricardo Nascimento’s penalty was saved by goalkeeper King Ndlovu, who also kept out the rebound.
Motjeka Madisha came very close to giving Sundowns the lead just before the break with a powerful header that crashed against the top upright from Sirino’s lofted free-kick before Zwane also hit the inside of the post with a strike from close range.
But Maboe eventually broke the deadlock for Sundowns in the last action of the half with a close-range header into a gaping net from Zwane’s cross.
The Brazilians goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene was hardly troubled in goal, as Mosimane’s men continued to pile pressure on Leopards but they were showing signs of fatigue in the closing stages.
Keletso Makgalwa was unlucky not to make it 3-0 for Sundowns in the last six minutes with a curling shot over Ndlovu on the far side that came off the post.
Lakay came very close to snatching the third goal for the Brazilians with a cracking strike from just inside the box that rattled the underside of the crossbar and went out of goal.
Maboe finally made it 3-0 for Masandawana in stoppage time with another close range header and completed his hat-trick to seal the title for Sundowns after Chiefs drew 1-1 with Baroka.
(SOURCE: Soccer Laduma)