Brazilian Lucas Ribeiro stars as Mamelodi Sundowns beat SuperSport United in Tshwane derby

Mamelodi Sundowns players celebrate a goal

Reigning champions Mamelodi Sundowns walked away with all three points from their DStv Premiership clash against Tshwane rivals SuperSport United on Wednesday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Published Nov 29, 2023


Lucas Ribeiro is bringing “Samba Soccer” to the PSL, and it’s befitting that his club’s moniker is “the Brazilians”!

The Brazilian was yet again the star of the show as Mamelodi Sundowns beat SuperSport United 2-0 in the Tshwane derby on Wednesday night to maintain a perfect start in the DStv Premiership.

The Ribeiro inspired win meant that Sundowns returned to the top of the pile with 27 points from nine games, four points ahead of SuperSport in third.

Sundowns were playing in their first league game in almost two months due to their continental commitments which earned them the inaugural African Football League title.

But if there was a team they were going to be wary of were their adversaries SuperSport who were, after all, the first team to beat them in the league last season.

SuperSport’s hopes of downing their arch-rivals must have also been slightly raised after they saw Sundowns’ lineup which was largely made up of makeshift players, owing to injuries and fatigue.

But such is the depth within this Sundowns team, they showed that whoever is called up on the day is ready to rise to the occasion as they went into the break 2-0 up.

The first goal came after the 30th minute, just after Sundowns grabbed the bulls by the horns, having SuperSport, who were a fully fledged team, dominated the early start.

SuperSport had failed to turn that dominance into goals as they also squandered a chance to punish Ronwen Williams who failed to trap the ball resulting in Mosa Lebusa clearing the danger.

Gamphani Lungu was largely responsible for the wasted opportunity as he failed to press the Sundowns’ duo whose style of building from the plan didn’t quite go according to plan then.

And having survived that scare, it was then that Sundowns activated their ‘best mode’ on the pitch, while stalwarts Gaston Sifiso, Teboho Mokoena and Themba Zwane went for warm-ups.

Ribeiro who’s been a breath of fresh air for this Sundowns team since his arrival led the change of fortunes and severe onslaught of SuperSport in the first half.

The 25-year-old made a scintillating run at the hosts’ defence towards the middle, before picking out Lebogang Maboe with a clever pass on the far past.

Maboe side-footed his effort past an onrushing Washington Arubi before Grant Mergeman looked to have cleared the ball into his own box only for him to recover and make a proper clearance.

But Maboe made up for that missed opportunity as he played a ones-and-twos with Thapelo Morena before finding Peter Shalulile, who tapped past Arubi, with a deft cut-back.

And with his teammates having found their mojo, Ribeiro proved why he’s cut above - doubling his team’s tally in a set-piece that was cooked in Chloorkop and dished up in Brazilian.

Neo Maema chipped SuperSport’s wall with a well-weighted effort which found Ribeiro who had ample time to chest-trap before swinging his body to volley home past Arubi.

It was the Brazilian’s sixth league of the season that proved just why he was born in the ‘Samba Nation’ and has been the PSL’s best newcomer and player so far this season by far.

Ribeiro should have registered an assist early in the second half after mesmerising SuperSport’s to find an unmarked Maboe who unfortunately lost his footing and failed to hit the target.

As the Brazilian was substituted just before the 65th minute and replaced by Zwane, his job was already done - his teammates controlled the game to bag another vital win over their nemesis.

IOL Sport