Unstoppable Sundowns reclaim PSL top spot

By Michael Madyira

It is now nine out of nine Premier Soccer League wins for Mamelodi Sundowns.

Peter Shalulile struck in the 31st minute before Lucas Ribeiro Costa beat the halftime whistle to double Sundowns’ advantage in the stoppage time of the first half to settle the contest.

It was another fruitful evening for Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday where they returned to the summit of the PSL standings with four games in hand.

They are now two points clear at the top of the table while SuperSport remain third.

Playing their first league match since 27 September, the Brazilians returned in style to steal the evening in this Tshwane Derby and deny Matsatsantsa an opportunity to go top.

Sundowns went into the match without the suspended duo of Bongani Zungu and Marcelo Allende.

It was another test of their depth as injuries ruled out regulars like Mothobi Mvala, Abdel Boutouil, Aubrey Modiba, Rivaldo Coetzee, Junior Mendieta, Bathuso Aubass and Thapelo Maseko.

Coach Rhulani Mokwena was daring to select a starting eleven without a natural central midfielder and his tactical acumen worked.

But they prevailed against a Matsatsantsa side that had Sundowns loanees in goalkeeper Ricardo Goss and forward Etiosa Ighodaro contractually ineligible to face their prime employers.

Experienced defender Siyanda Xulu was out injured while veteran left-back Onismor Bhasera was not part of coach Gavin Hunt’s matchday squad.

On the half-hour mark, Grant Margeman almost scored an own goal but recovered to clear, near the goal line, his net-bound miscued clearance.

Shortly after, Shalulile broke the deadlock by easily connecting a Maboe cross to beat SuperSport goalkeeper Washington Arubi at the far post.

Sundowns were now full of life and Neo Maema invited Arubi to a spectacular save off a tricky freekick.

The match’s brilliant moment then came with a well-calculated move where Maema pretended to be walking away from a freekick set but abruptly turned to release Ribeiro who cleanly slid the ball past Arubi.

Shalulile almost grabbed a brace on 68 minutes but saw his shot from inside the box going just over the bar.

SuperSport substitute Shandre Campbell then nearly made an immediate impact but his long range shot narrowly missed the target.

Masandawana protected their lead well by not allowing SuperSport into the final third and it worked until the final whistle.

Pictured above: Mamelodi Sundowns’ Sphelele Mkhulise tracking SuperSport United midfielder Grant Margeman.

Image source: SuperSport United

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