The Brazilians got away with maximum points against Royal AM in their 3-2 victory at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium. In the between two of the top teams in the league, it had the feel of Masandawana showing the chasing pack they remain the team to beat.
Thabiso Kutumela opened the scoring for Bafana Ba Style with a stunning volley as early as five minutes into the encounter, making it his second goal of the season since signing for the club in July.
On the right-hand side Kutumela and full back Thapelo Morena were exceptional in their exchange of passes on the right side of the pitch going into attack and giving Tshidiso Monamodi much to do in defense.
The visiting side had Tebogo Potsane and Ndumiso Mabena upfront pressing Downs’ wall in attempt to find a quick equalizer to get themselves back in the game, Andile Jali misinterpreted Potsane’s attempt at goal and fouled the Royal attacker, giving the KwaZulu-Natal based team their closest chance at goal. Masandawana goalie Kennedy Mweene was to be tested for the first time in the encounter, however a fragile Mabena shot met Downs defensive line.
Moments later Neo Maema was earning his keep at the other end of the pitch when he forced Nyame to extend himself to save the shot that was on target. Royal’s Potsane was back again shortly, forcing Mweene to make his first real save in the game. The moments of play between Mabena and Potsane approaching the half time break were convincing as they came close to equalizing however Rushine De Reuck – who made a return to the line up, was caught by no surprises as he easily cleared the ball out of danger.
The second half started with a substitution by the home team, Mothobi Mvala made his way for Mosa Lebusa before the game commenced. Namibian international Peter Shalulile missed a goalscoring opportunity to extend The Brazilians lead when Kutumela perfectly placed the ball on his run as they both charged towards Nyame. The visitors responded shortly with a shot over the crossbar and this was a reminder there are few more uplifting sights in the clash. The champions were bold and inventive from start to finish, breaking Thwihli Thwahla’s defense with a beautiful exhibition of passing and movement. Morena’s bold pass into the box did not go to waste with Shalulile scoring his first in the afternoon’s meeting and giving Masandawana a two-nil advantage.
A build up in play from Bafana Ba Style’s own half straight into their opponent’s box was a marvel, Jali and Modiba’s attack was enough for Shalulile to spot another goalscoring opportunity as he found the back of the net in style. While Royal AM was losing their momentum in the second half, the substitution of Victor Letsoalo was all the change that brought them back into the game.
Masandawana’s lead was threatened with ten minutes left to play for the Tshwane giants to collect their long awaited three points to extend their lead at the top of the table, Letsoalo was the man with the goal and Royal AM was motivated to stay in the game. In the final minute of regular time Royal AM were awarded a penalty and the gap between the two sides was closed as Letsoalo placed the ball to one side that Mweene had not anticipated.
Despite an anxious few moments from the visitors, it was Bafana Ba Style who left the encounter as victors as they moved ten points clear top of the league table.
This is how we lined up: K. Mweene, N. Maema (77′ Kapinga), M. Lebusa (45’ Mvala), G. Kekana, L. Lakay (57′ Modiba), A. Jali, R. De Reuck, T. Morena, P. Shalulile, T. Kutumela (63’ Sirino), S. Vilakazi (57′ Mkhulise).
R. Goss, M. Mvala, A. Modiba, K. Erasmus, L. Kapinga, T. Zwane, P. Safranko, G. Sirino, S. Mkhulise.