Mamelodi Sundowns’ mini slump took a decidedly negative turn on Saturday afternoon as they were bundled out of the Nedbank Cup at home by Lamontville Golden Arrows after a superb individual goal from 21-year-old talent Nduduzo Sibiya just under 20 minutes from time.
Sundowns, admittedly struggling to keep their expansive squad fit, have now won just two of their last nine encounters and will have warning lights flashing starkly in their face. Sibiya, among the top finds of the season, sold a clever dummy to turn the Sundowns defence and sprinted away to hold his nerve and slot the ball past Kennedy Mweene to settle the outcomre.
It was a massive scalp for Arrows, who have just one major trophy to their name and will now believe they have as good a chance as any to lift the trophy at the end of the season.
“We were under pressure in the first half but we came strongly through. I’m happy for my hard working players,” said victorious coach Clinton Larsen.
Sundowns, despite a bevy of injuries and a makeshift looking line-up, came out of the starting blocks quickly to immediately put their visitors under pressure and should have been ahead in the eight minute when Anele Ngcongca’s run down the right set up Thapelo Morena, who hit a wild shot over the top from a tight angle when a simple pull back would have allowed a teammate an easy tap-in.
Khama Billiat’s mazy run in the 16th minute ended with Arrows keeper Nkosingiphile Gumede coming out to smother the opportunity but from the resultant corner Sundowns had another good chance that Ngcongca could not get a decisive touch to, in a goalmouth scramble that Arrows furiously defended.
It just before the half hour mark that the Durban club, coming into the game on the back of two successive victories, got their first chance after a swift sprint on the left by fullback Nkosinathi Mthinyane, who delivered a strong cross that Sibusiso Sibeko was well positioned to convert but he chose to go with his instep rather than a header and it hit his knee and missed the target.
Sibeko also had a chance with the final action of the first half at a corner as he rose unchallenged but headed over the top of the goal.
Danny Phiri came on for Sibeko at the start of the second half to beef up the midfield and the game looked more balanced.
Sundowns fluffed several half chances throughout the half but it was Arrows who showed their sharpness with a quickly taken free kick, a through ball to Sibiya and a magical body swerve to take the ball past the defence and score.