Sundowns, Chiefs through as Pirates crash out of MTN8

SuperSport United players celebrate winning on penalties Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns got their MTN8 campaign off to a winning start as they beat Golden Arrows in the opening match of this year's competition and were later on Saturday joined in the semifinals by Kaizer Chiefs and holders SuperSport United.

It amounts to a heavyweight line-up for the final four in the first of the South African season's three knockout competitions.

The fourth side to advance to the two-legged semi-finals later this month will be determined on Sunday when Maritzburg United host Cape Town City, who were the runners-up last season.

Sundowns kicked off Saturday's play with a comfortable 2-0 success over Golden Arrows in Atteridgeville with goals on either side of the break from Sibusiso Vilakazi and centre-back Wayne Arendse.

Vilakazi scored with a powerful shot just inside the opposing penalty area five minutes before half-time at the end of a flowing passing movement which involved Jeremy Brockie, Thapelo Morena and Themba Zwane, who set up the goal with a deft backheel.

Vilakazi had missed a good opportunity to open the scoring some 10 minutes earlier, flashing a wild left-footed effort well off target.

A diving header at the back post from Arendse ensured the second goal in the 70th minute as he met Guston Sirino's telling cross from the right flank, sending Sundowns on their travels in a happy mood.

They depart on Sunday for avital African Champions League tie next Friday away at holders Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.

Chiefs freshened up their team as they went in search of their first win of the season and dismissed Free State Stars 3-0 at Soccer City in Saturday's second game.

Dumisani Zuma, who was brought into the line-up for his first run out of the campaign, fired in the opener in the 20th minute after being played through by Joseph Molangoane, who later went to hospital after a horror leg break in the second half.

Chiefs doubled their lead shortly after the break when Leonardo Castro chipped over an on-rushing Stars' goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare being fed by Siphelele Ntshangase's pass.

Khama Billiat rounded off the victory in added time to keep AmaKhosi on course for a first trophy after three seasons without any trophy success.

"It was a brilliant performance, making me very proud of my players," said Chiefs new coach Giovanni Solinas.

SuperSport United held off Orlando Pirates in Saturday night's encounter, taking the game to extra time and then advancing 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

Augustine Mulenga had given Pirates a 15th-minute lead but SuperSport scored in quick succession before, and after half-time, though Dean Furman, chosen as man of the match, and Zimbabwe international Evans Rusike.

Pirates pulled it back to 2-2 on the hour mark with a deflection off defender Gladwin Shitolo and then missed a glorious late chance as Vincent Pule squandered a sitter and saw a Mulenga penalty saved by SuperSport goalkeeper Ronwen Williams near the end of the 30 minutes of extra time.

Williams would go on to be the hero in the penalty shootout too.