Mamelodi Sundowns cruised to 3-0 victory over Royal AM in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday evening. The Brazilians wrapped up the first half of the season with three points and three goals at Chatsworth Stadium heading into the break with a solid positioning in the DStv Premiership, sitting on position number one with 28 points. The defending Champions started off the encounter under pressure as the home team seemed to be more in control of the game and pushing forward to get the first goal, but it was Neo Mamema’s late goal before the break that changed the scenario and paved way for The Brazilians triumph.
“First half not so good, but more because of the opposition and because we were not in it. They were sharp, aggressive and we had to match that a little bit more so that we can have more dominance and control of the ball, which we did a lot more in the second half. Congratulations to the boys for fighting and hanging in there in a very difficult first half, we were good teammates and we fought very, very hard for the badge.” Said Masandawana’s head coach Rulani Mokwena.
“I think we fought, we ran and did the best that we could. We just had a couple of issues, one [of them] was our build up; we had to restructure a bit [because] we couldn’t find the pass to the next line just behind Ruzaigh [Gamildien] and [Lesvin] Stoffels but that’s because they targeted a bit more on Mothobi [Mvala] than we thought. We also struggled a little bit on the left side, the early yellow card for Mosa [Lebusa] also put him a little bit under pressure. When we couldn’t get Mothobi or Mosa on the left side, we struggled a little bit with the fluidity of build up, but once we changed it a little bit we looked a little better.”
Masandawana did not have to wait long in the second half to show their intent as they piled up more pressure on the opposition, winning back almost every ball that Royal AM tried playing forward. The battle between the two teams was well expected to be electrifying and Bafana Ba Style proved to be the better side with two more goals scored in the second half period, coach Rulani noted the different approaches between the two halves:
“[Sphelele Mkhulise] Pitso’s position was a little bit closer, and also the subs were very good. [Themba Zwane] Mshishi was good, [Bradley] Ralani was good, [Lebohang Maboe] Lebo was good, he started a little bit slow but got into it and Gaston [Sirino] was very, very good. Team work, no one is bigger than this football club. We just keep trying to serve it.”
“In servant you forget a lot about yourself and about the results and you just continue to serve and that’s what we try to do. We as the technical team are servants, pure football servants, we live, eat and breathe this game. We try to do the best that we possibly can and humanly possible for this football club. The football players are servants of this game, servants of this club because we are all sent to try and fetch the order and the order is three points.”
Coach Rulani also extended his applause to 21-year old attacking midfielder, Cassius Mailula who was awarded with his first man of the match accolade. Mailula has been a revelation to Bafana Ba Style taking over the front line and providing goals and assiss. The Brazilians Coach said, “He’s doing exceptionally well in a very difficult moment for us. We don’t talk about the players that are missing, but we are missing almost our entire front line and to play a young boy like Cassius and give him the opportunity that he’s getting it’s not just good for Mamelodi Sundowns but for South African football.”
“So long it may continue with a lot of humility and support around him. Keep his feet on the ground and continue to work hard, there’s a lot of potential. The most important thing now is a lot of humility, don’t push the name too much, push the contributions and perfomances and not too much the name.”
Mamelodi Sundowns will be participating in the Blacklabel Cup taking place on the 12th of November as they lock horns with AmaZulu FC. More details will be shared on the club’s official website – sundownsfc.co.za