Mamelodi Sundowns survive scare to take sting out of Bees
Mamelodi Sundowns survived an almighty scare to defeat third-tier side EC Bees 2-1 and advance to the quarter finals of the Nedbank Cup on Tuesday.
Sundowns trailed or the first 46 minutes after Joseph Chikile put the visitors ahead with a rare attack, but second-half goals from Hlompo Kekana and Thapelo Morena spared the blushes of the Tshwane side.
It keeps their hopes of a league and cup double alive this season, and the win was achieved in the absence of coach Pitso Mosimane, currently in North Africa completing a Pro License course.
The Brazilians now go into Thursday night's quarter-final draw - which already contains Kaizer Chiefs - while the Last 8 line-up will be completed on Wednesday when Cape Town City host Orlando Pirates in the final second-round match.
Sundowns should have been ahead early on when Anthony Laffor's trickery on the right presented a one-on-one chance for George Lebese against Bees goalkeeper Khanya Mini.
Mini saved Lebese's first effort from point-blank range, before producing another fine block from the rebound to keep Sundowns scoreless.
However, Bees were buzzing as they hit the front on 16 minutes when Siyabonga Zulu's attempted pass-back to Motjeka Madisha found only Chikile. The Bees forward showed great persistence to get to the byline and knock home the rebound after his attempted cross was only parried by Kennedy Mweene in the home goal.
It was not Chikile's first goal in the competition, he also netted in Bees' 3-1 loss to Orlando Pirates in the Last 32 in 2017.
Mini provided a fine block from Laffor and then denied Lebese again as Sundowns found him an impenetrable wall in the opening period.
It took just 43 seconds of the second half for Sundowns to work themselves level as captain Kekana took control.
The ball fell to him in space 30-yards from goal and Bees did not recognise the danger as nobody moved to close him down, inviting the shot that rocketed into the corner of the net.
Bees almost had the lead again when Chikile held on to the ball a fraction too long before releasing Sipho-Sihle Mtule. The delay allowed the Sundowns defence to regain some shape and Mtule put his shot from a tighter angle wide.
Ultimately, Sundowns' greater experience showed as they kept knocking on the door and, after Thapelo Morena had won the ball in midfield and fed Jeremy Brockie, he raced onto a cut-back from the New Zealand international to side-foot the ball past a helpless Mini.