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The 6 greatest matches between Chiefs and Sundowns

Roger Feutmba

Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns have been at each other like two caged tigers since the mid-1980s.

While the Brazilians have won more League titles over the intervening years, Chiefs have been Cup Kings, and Sundowns have frequently been their victims in cup competitions, adding extra spice to every encounter between these two giants of football.

Here then, are six of their most memorable clashes ...

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A ‘ghost’ of a goal by ‘Lesilo’

May 4, 1986: Chiefs 1 Sundowns 0

The thrill in the air was almost palpable as a full house at Ellis Park gathered to watch Kaizer Chiefs welcome back Ace Ntsoelengoe from his ill-fated two-year exile in the rival NPSL. The opponents would be Mamelodi Sundowns, the new kids on the block who were taking the NSL by storm with their dashing football. They were the talk of the town because, in a few days, the entire squad would be flying to London to watch the FA Cup Final; tickets purchased by club’s flamboyant boss, Zola Mahobe. This was a first round clash in the JPS Knockout Cup (now the Telkom Knockout), and the game was tight and tense. Both goalkeepers had a lot to do and Sundowns’ Mark ‘Lesilo’ Anderson was later named Man of the Match. But there was just one goal in it - and it was scored by Anderson, in his own net. With just three minutes of the 90 remaining, Chiefs were on the attack … the ball was played to Ntsoelengoe, but he cleverly dummied it, opening up Absalom ‘Scara’ Thindwa for a shot on goal. The Swazi star lashed it goalwards, past the diving Anderson. The ball hit the post, but Chiefs got their lucky break ... the ball bounced back into play and hit Anderson on the back of the head and trickled over the line. A late own-goal had outdone Sundowns. The upstarts from Mamelodi dispensed with, Chiefs went all the way, beating Moroka Swallows 2-1 on aggregate in the Final.

The no-goal that cost a million bucks

November 28, 1998: Chiefs 2-2 Sundowns (Chiefs won 2-1 on pens)

The Rothmans Cup, as South Africa’s League Cup was known in the late 1990s and early 2000s, was a slickly marketed affair that gripped the imagination of fans and players alike. With a R1-million prize at stake - a record purse for a knockout cup - teams seemed to raise their game to new levels in this competition, and Chiefs and Sundowns were the sides that touched greatness most often. Chiefs had won the Rothmans Cup the previous year, beating Downs 3-2 on penalties after two tightly fought 1-1 draws and 240 minutes of football. They had also beaten their rivals in two BP Top Eight Finals during the 90s. Would this be Sundowns year? Many believed it would; they were shaping up into one of the finest teams this country had ever seen (this being the first of their three back-to-back Premiership-winning seasons). The match proved to be a thriller. Thabo Mooki opened the scoring for Chiefs in the first minute, and it took until the 75th minute for Sundowns to find an equaliser - and it was a beauty: a wonderful left-foot volley by winger Joel ‘Fire’ Masilela after a free-kick had looped back to him off the Chiefs wall. In extra-time Alex Bapela, on the opposite flank, put Sundowns ahead, neatly assisted by Roger Feutmba’s classy left-foot dink. But Neil Tovey’s clever pass beat the Downs offside trap for Siyabonga Nomvethe to slot home. The game was heading for penalties when an out-of-character mistake by Mohamed Ouseb gifted possession to Masilela, who cut in and scored. To the horror of everyone affiliated with Sundowns, as well as every neutral, linesman Tiny Chandermoney raised his flag, signalling offside. The decision that cost Sundowns a million bucks - that was how the media saw it. There is no way Masilela was offside, but the referee went with his linesman. And so, on to penalties, and a strange situation of four misses apiece after five each. Themba Mnguni, such a reliable defender, hit the Brazilians’ sixth penalty against the post, and Chiefs’ centre-forward Pollen Ndlanya converted his. 2-1 to Chiefs on penalties, and an outraged Sundowns.

Mbesuma on fire as Chiefs win seven-goal thriller

February 19, 2005: Sundowns 3 Chiefs 4

Reigning champions Kaizer Chiefs were not having it all their own way as their two greatest rivals, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns, were pushing them all the way in the title race. The match away to an in-form Sundowns was an acid test, and Amakhosi passed it. Although three Sundowns players scored - (Masehe 9, Sapula 57 and Mthombeni 83) - Collins Mbesuma alone scored three times for Chiefs. David Radebe equalised for Amakhosi on 43 minutes, and ‘Ntofontofo’ put the Glamour Boys in front in the 45th minute. Chiefs playmaker Scara Ngobese was sent off just before the half-time whistle, and the Brazilians drew first blood in the second half when Godfrey Sapula scored. Sundowns’ joy was short-lived as Mbesuma equalised just two minutes later. And another couple of minutes on, he had his hat-trick, putting Chiefs 4-2 up with just over an hour played. Although Sundowns pulled one back as the match reached boiling point, they lost their influential Ivorian Siaka Tiene to a red card in injury time, and Chiefs bagged a valuable three points. Amakhosi went on to win their second Premiership title, finishing two points ahead of Pirates and six ahead of Sundowns. Mbesuma ended the season on 25 League goals.

Sundowns pass the test

February 3, 2007: Sundowns 2 Chiefs 1

This League match will always be remembered for an amazing passaged of play between the 72nd and 74th minutes - but there was plenty of action beforehand too. Venezuelan striker Jose Torrealba put Sundowns in front after 10 minutes, scoring from an excellent first-time pass by Godfrey Sapula. With just over 30 minutes gone, David Kannemeyer gave Chiefs a way back into the match, fouling Kaizer Motaung Jnr in the 18-area. Chiefs goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez stepped up to take the spot-kick. Facing him was his mentor Brian Baloyi, a former Chiefs star. Fernandez sent Baloyi the wrong way, but a teammate had encroached so the referee ordered a retake. Baloyi saved it, but the ball rebounded back into play, and a relieved Fernandez no mistake this time. Fernandez cancelled out his goal by fluffing a cross in the 51st minute, and Lerato Chabangu put the Brazilians in front again. Then Torrealba was sent off for swearing, and Chiefs looked to have been given another lifeline. Yet it was the ten-man Sundowns who finished the game the stronger team, securing a 2-1 win en-route to another League title, this being the third of a run of 11 straight victories. Their dominance was highlighted by an amazing passage of play commencing in the 72nd minute when they completed a sequence of 44 passes as Chiefs chased shadows while yellow clad fans cheered every pass that swept slickly across the Loftus turf.

Baxter stunned on his Chiefs debut

August 5, 2012: Sundowns 4 Chiefs 1

Former Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter was back in South Africa as head coach of Kaizer Chiefs, but Mamelodi Sundowns had a surprise MTN8 welcoming party for the Englishman. The Brazilians, orchestrated by Teko Modise, tore into Baxter’s boys, and were 4-0 up in 37 minutes. The first goal came when debutant Thamsanqa Sangweni headed in a perfect Modise cross, and in the 12th minute, the trick was repeated for another debutant to score, Teboho Langerman. Lebohang Mokoena made it 3-0 after 25 minutes before a third Sundowns debutant got on the scoresheet, Edward Manqele. Reneilwe Letsholonyane scored in the 76th minute and three minutes later Chiefs won a penalty. Was a comeback on? No chance! Josta Dladla’s weak effort was easily saved by Wayne Sandilands.

Sweet revenge for Sundowns as Onyango stars

December 17, 2015: Sundowns 3 Chiefs 1

Kaizer Chiefs’ love affair with South Africa’s League Cup continued under the sponsorship of Telkom, and they had added three more titles to their name by the time they squared up to Sundowns in the 2015 Telkom Knockout Cup Final in Durban. Sundowns, by contrast, had played in nine different cup finals this century and lost eight of them! This time, however, Chiefs ran into an immovable object in the form of Ugandan goalkeeper Denis Onyango. The Brazilians took a fourth-minute lead when Leonardo Castro headed in a volleyed pass from Khama Billiat. Their measured, controlled play contrasted with Amakhosi’s nervousness and Chiefs wasted what chances came their way; Pule Ekstein being the main culprit. Six minutes into the second half, Sundowns went 2-0 up when Thabo Nthethe beat Siboniso Gaxa to Teko Modise’s corner-kick and headed home. Then George Lebese missed a great chance for Chiefs. Worse was to come when Chiefs won a penalty in the 60th minute, but Siphiwe Tshabalala’s spot-kick was brilliantly saved by Onyango. And again, on 73 minutes, Amakhosi won another penalty when Nthethe accidently handled. Amazingly, Onyango saved again, this time from Camaldine Abraw. Chiefs were left reeling in the 83rd minute when Themba Zwane’s cheeky backheel set up Hlompo Kekana, who thumped his shot home in typical fashion. Abraw’s stoppage-time goal was rendered irrelevant as Sundowns fans had long begun their celebrations.

By Richard Maguire

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