Mamelodi Sundowns may have the depth to fulfil their dream of winning two domestic titles, but their hard-fought 2-1 Nedbank Cup win over minnows EC Bees, courtesy of Hlompho Kekana and Thapelo Morena second-half goals, proved that the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Manqoba Mngqithi rang the changes for the clash against a modest ABC Motsepe League outfit, but the Sundowns assistant coach was certainly far from impressed with the performance of his fringe players.
What was expected to be an effortless stroll into the quarterfinals at Loftus Stadium turned into a real piece of work for the PSL giants, who literally squeezed through to the next round.
The Bees took a shock lead through Joseph Chikila in the 16 minutes, but the dream was just that for the Eastern Cape-based side… a dream.
The first-half went completely against the script with Sundowns going into the break a goal down.
It was the result of poor finishing, lack of cohesion and Khanya Mini, the Bees goalie who pulled four amazing saves to keep his side in the lead.
There was nothing tiny about Mini as he stood large between the poles and his teammates seemed to draw confidence from him.
They got stuck in, pulling their weight early on the first half, but without really threatening their illustrious opponents.
Mngqithi gave rare starts to Kennedy Mweene, Siyabonga Zulu and Anele Ngcongca at the back, though the latter was quickly taken off injured.
Anthony Laffor coming back from a long injury lay-off and there were also starts for George Lebese and Thokozani Sekotlong.
Laffor did much better than the latter two, who failed to impressed.
Chikila send shocks waves through the paltry Loftus crowd as he pounced on poor Zulu’s back-pass, ran towards goal and beat Mweene with his second attempt.
Against the run of play, the Bees found themselves in the lead but the road to the quarterfinals was a bridge to far.
And it wasn’t long before Kekana levelled for the home side with a cracker.
The skipper, who famously banged in seven goals against Powerlines FC five years ago, controlled a long Motjeka Madisha’s pass and thundered in the equaliser from just outside the box.
But Sundowns shouldn’t have raised a sweat.