The protracted PSL season officially came to an end on Saturday night as Mamelodi Sundowns ran out 1-0 winners over Bloemfontein Celtic in the Nedbank Cup final at Orlando Stadium.
Sundowns set off as if they were on a training run and two minutes into the match they penetrated the Celtic penalty area where Themba Zwane skied his parting shot from an acute angle.
Celtic were living dangerously but Sundowns seemed goal-shy when in the firing zone.
In the 7th minute, Celtic staged a breakout and striker was brought down just outside the penalty area although by the time he completed the fall he landed inside the penalty area. Referee Jelly Chavani did not react to the challenge by Ricardo Nascimento and waved play on.
It was turning out to be a cagey first half which Sundowns dominated with 57% possession. However, by the time the teams changed ends, Sundowns had nothing to show for their efforts.
On the stroke of halftime, Sundowns’ Ugandan goalkeeper brought off a fine save to parry Letsoalo’s header away for a corner.
After the break, Sundowns did not have things their way as Celtic closed them down with first-time tackling.
By this time, the entertaining fare was calling out for a goal. It might have happened in the 57th minute, but the upright held out a curling shot from the edge of the penalty area by Sundowns striker Gastón Sirino.
After play passed the hour mark, Celtic managed several forays deep into the Sundowns half but were unable to fashion scoring opportunities.
At the other end of the field, at least two half-chances emerged for Sundowns in the opposition penalty area, but poor finishing helped Celtic to keep their defence intact.
In the 79th minute, Sirino finally brought the deadlock with a stinging low drive from just outside the area. Celtic goalkeeper Sipho Chaine made despairing dive to his left but the ball evaded his clutches as it went in off the upright.
Three minutes before the end of regulation time, Onyango brought a fine save to deny Celtic.