Fresh off from conquering the continent in style, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies have clinched the Hollywoodbets Super League title for the second season running thanks to a hard-fought 2-1 win over JVW FC at the Groenkloof Stadium.
Goals from Andisiwe Mgcoyi and Chantelle Esau handed The Brazilians the title-clinching victory. The win also meant Sundowns Ladies have qualified for the 2022 edition of the TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League where they will be defending their continental title.
Banyana Ba Style made six changes to the team that started the final match against Ghana’s Hasaacas Ladies at the 30 June Stadium in Cairo. Goalkeeper Asa Rabalao came in for the red-hot Andile Dlamini (who was named best goalkeeper in Cairo), Bongiwe Thusi came in for Vice-captain Karabo Makhurubetshi while Esau got the starting nod ahead of Chuene Morifi. There were also starts for Khutso Pila, Boitumelo Rabale and Rhoda Mulaudzi in a very attacking line-up.
Despite a raft of changes, Sundowns Ladies started the game on the attack with Melinda Kgadiete testing the goalkeeper in the early period with her effort from close range. The early pressures yielded dividends after just five minutes after a good interplay between Melinda and Rhoda set up in-form Andisiwe Mgcoyi to score. It marked a perfect last few days for Mgcoyi who earned the ‘Woman of the Match’ Award in the CAF Champions League final after scoring one and assisting another.
That goal sparked some urgency into the strides of the visitors who duly responded less than ten minutes later with a fine strike for Cimone Sauls. The goal was the first conceded by Sundowns Ladies in over 750 minutes of competitive football action. A few minutes later, Banyana Ba Style were forced into an early substitution with injured Rabale replaced by Nhlanhla Mthandi.
The continental champions continued to launch several attacking runs and were rewarded midway through the first half thanks to midfielder Esau who was on the finishing end after some good work from the lively partnership between Melinda and Rhoda. For the majority of the first half, the highly physical encounter saw both teams battled for the first and second balls in a sparkling contest.
The Chloorkop side showed great intent after the restart with Esau almost grabbing her brace five minutes into the second half, but her effort was easily handled by the opposition goalkeeper. The visitors also conjured up some attacking moves but their efforts were denied by Rabalao.
With time running out, Masandawana looked to the bench for some more reinforcements with goalscorer Esau replaced by the energetic Oratile Mokwena while Thalea Smidt made way for Regina Mogolola. Bafana Ba Style found some late momentum with Bambanani Mbane coming close with her header as The Brazilians held on for a hard-fought victory.
Midfielder Esau who found the back of the net was pleased with her overall performance.
“I feel very amazing after a very fine outing against our very spirited opponents. Although we are still feeling fatigued after a hectic last few days, we found a way to play our usual game. It was a team effort today as everyone played their part in ensuring the victory. By winning the league, we have become treble winners. This makes me feel like a Champion. At the end of the day, it’s all about the handwork and determination that runs through the team,” an excited Esau stated.
Coach Jerry Tshabalala was full of his praise for his charges who found a way to grind out maximum points which sealed the title.
“I am very happy with the girls that we got three points from this game. We needed a point to seal the title, but they delivered beyond expectations yet again. It was a very tough outing, but we found a way to play to our strengths. Although they showed their quality at various points during the match, we kept our cool and stuck to our game plans. I am very excited because we clinched the game and the title in the end. We are already looking forward to the next game, and the game after that,” stated Coach Tshabalala.
The victory further improves The Brazilians standings on the league table. After 23 games played, Sundowns Ladies have racked up a remarkable 21 wins, with just one draw and one defeat (boardroom decision), scoring 74 goals and conceding just 12.
With the COSAFA regional title, CAF Champions League title and the Hollywoodbets Super League title in the bag, Sundowns Ladies have now won a stunning treble this season!