POLOKWANE, January 7 – Polokwane City awoke from a first half slumber to stage a staggering second half comeback and defeat log-leaders Mamelodi Sundowns 3-2 in a pulsating Premiership fixture in sweltering conditions at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
From a very one-sided first half totally dominated by the visitors, the halftime dressing room lecture by recently-appointed City coach Bernard Molekwa must have worked a charm and had the desired impact on his charges.
The hosts, trailing at the interval to an early George Lebese strike, stunned Downs with a two-goal blitz just a minute apart in the 58th and 59th minutes, briefly seizing the lead, before the Tshwane side struck back to level matters, but they rallied to regain a foothold on the match.
Sundowns totally dominated a one-sided first half, but only heading into the break a single goal to the good.
The rejuvenated Limpopo side struck back in a frantic 20-minute period of play, to inflict a second consecutive defeat on the 2016 African champions and hand Molekwa his first home victory since taking charge.
Rise and Shine levelled matters courtesy of an impeccably-timed header by Sammy Seabi from a free kick. No sooner had the referee blown his whistle for the restart, than the men in orange were 2-1 up, as Walter Musona capitalised on some sloppy defending.
Oupa Manyisa sprung the offside trap, catching the City defence flat-footed and restored parity in the 65th minute, setting up a potentially cracking final 20 minutes.
Goal glutton and Polokwane’s go-to man Rodney Ramagalela turned the match on its head 10 minutes from time. Allowed too much time and space, the PSL’s leading goal scorer unleashed a booming drive which left Downs’ keeper Denis Onyango little chance diving across to his far post, handing all three points to the home side.
Masandawana couldn’t have asked for a better start to the match when Lebese gave the visitors the lead inside three minutes.
A long pass from the ever-present Percy Tau found Hlompho Kekana hanging out wide, leaving him with the time and space to deliver a pin-point cross to Lebese just inside the 18 yard box.
Less than satisfactory finishing aside, Sundowns succeeded in suffocating their opponents, maintained their intensity and played very high up the park in the first 40 and should have been at least three goals to the good.
In the end, they paid a heavy price for allowing City back into the match after their first half strangulation effort and not converting their dominance into goals.
– African News Agency (ANA),