South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns were yesterday forced to go the extra mile to defeat Namibia champions Tigers 4-2 to retain the Dr Hage Geingob Cup at the Windhoek Independence Stadium last night.
The victory over Tigers saw Sundowns lifting the Dr Hage Geingob Cup trophy for the third consecutive year, having already won the two previous editions since the tournament’s inception (2014, 2015 and now 2016).
The Brazilians were dealt a blow after seven minutes when Anthon Laffor was stretchered off due to injury. He was replaced by Ntandoyenkosi Ngubane.
Ngubane made the perfect impact, as he volleyed home to hand Sundowns the lead in the eighth minute, with Sibusiso Vilakazi picking up the assist. However, Tigers managed to level matters in the 10th minute.
Sundowns mentor Pitso Mosimane opted for a total of 10 changes in the 20th minute, introducing first team regulars such as Khama Billiat, Leonardo Castro and Hlompho Kekana. Sundowns restored their lead in the 24th minute courtesy of a well-placed free-kick from Kekana, before the hosts drew level once again in the 35th minute.
Mosimane’s side took the lead just before the halftime break through Castro, after some good work by Billiat. The Absa Premiership champions extended their advantage in the 52nd minute, as Billiat turned provider once again to tee up Tshepo Ntlaba, who finished from close range.
Mosimane continued make changes as the game went on, as he introduced Flavio Bento and Monyai Motoro after 56 minutes. Sundowns enjoyed a good spell of possession as the half went on with Kekana spraying passes around with ease. The Brazilians managed to see out the final stages of the game with relative ease, as they clinched the Dr Hage Geingob Cup.
Meanwhile, Katutura glamour football club African Stars yesterday surprised all and sundry when they held their nerve to beat South African giants Orlando Pirates 8-7 on penalties, after a goalless draw in regulation time of their third-place play-off match.
The victory signals probably a fresh start to African Stars’ affairs and should place them in a more comfortable position heading into the new football season, while the defeat to their South African counterparts added more woes to their poor pre-season form.
Stars lost 1-0 in their tournament opener against Namibia premiership champions Tigers on Saturday, while Pirates suffered a 3-1 drubbing at the hands of defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Mosimane expressed much satisfaction with the overall growth of the tournament and gave credit to Tigers for being worthy opponents that gave them a serious run for their money. – Additional reporting: www.soccerladuma.co.za