Themba Zwane produced a performance from his top drawer on Sunday afternoon at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium when he scored a hat-trick in 11 minutes to inspire Mamelodi Sundowns to a 4-3 winover AmaZulu in a thrilling DStv Premiership contest.
The first of his three goals was an equaliser just four minutes after Usuthu had taken the lead through Lehlohonolo Majoro. Peter Shalulile’s defence splitting pass found Zwane on high alert and he slotted past goalkeeper Siyabonga Mbatha.
Two minutes later, Zwane lost his markers with some fine footwork before beautifully curling the ball away from Mbatha with his weaker foot.
“Mshishi” completed his hat-trick in the 30th minute to give his side what was a two-goal cushion at the time. Kermit Erasmus was the provider this time as he was found by Shalulile on his bike. The Bafana Bafana international could have forced to take a shot himself but opted to pass the ball to Zwane, who made no mistake, getting the finest of touches to beat Mbatha for the third time.
While Zwane walked away with the match-ball and Man-of-the-Match gong after his stellar performance, Downs captain on the day, Ricardo Nascimento did not have the best of games as his errors resulted in two of AmaZulu’s goals.
Majoro was the first to benefit from Nascimento’s shambles when defender Motjeka Madisha chest-trapped the ball down Nascimento’s alley, who then played a tame back-pass to his goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, allowing “Major” to chase and beat the goalie to the ball as he fired into the back of the net to score his second DStv Premiership goal this season.
Just after the start of the second stanza, Nascimento was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box, resulting in a penalty which was taken by Luvuyo Memela. The attacking wizard saw his attempt saved by Mweene, but fortunately for Usuthu, the Downs goalkeeper could not hold on to the ball and Memela had a second bite from the rebound to score his 3rd league goal of the season.
AmaZulu’s third goal was scored just three minutes after Shaulile’s goal. An unmarked Sandile Khumalo scored from a header to set up a thrilling contest.
Downs’ goal providers, Erasmus and Shalulile were both withdrawn in the latter stages of the game and on came youngster Keletso Makgalwa and Khuliso Mudau. Downs also introduced club captain Hlompho Kekana and Hashim Domingo who came on for Zwane and Lebohang Maboe respectively.
In other DStv Premiership matches played on Sunday, Cape Town City beat Bloemfontein Celtic 4-2, while Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila edged Baroka FC 1-0 in the Limpopo derby.