Mamelodi Sundowns record back-to-back victory in KwaZulu-Natal after brushing aside Royal AM 3-0 in the DStv Premiership on Saturday evening. The Brazilians put in a stunning display at Chatsworth Stadium to claim three points before going into the international FIFA Break.
Goals from Neo Maema, Cassius Mailula and Bradley Ralani were enough to allow the defending Champions to open up the gap in the league, a quick start to the match set up the scene for a heated encounter with chances at the side of the hosts inside the first few minutes. Masandawana goalie Ronwen Williams got involved to help the defenders with incoming balls played behind the line to clear off any attempts.
Bafana Ba Style’s first chance at any attempts towards goal came after 15 minutes if okay, Teboho Mokoena had the chance to put the team in the lead when he was awarded with a free kick. The long range shot specialist was unlucky to see his effort bounce off the wall put up by Royal.
Thwihli Thwahla put more pressure on Sundowns, this time Masandawana defenders had to work together to clear the ball out of danger that was going for goal and a corner kick was awarded to the men wearing black. Chances continued to be exchanged and Royal AM was looking to build on their good start to the evening, flashing a shot just wide, Mothobi Mvala made a superb block to deny the opportunity into the box.
Moments after being pressed by the home team, Downs pulled off on attacking movement through Thapelo Morena, but had his final pass blocked by defenders. Williams also made an unexpected save from Lantshene Phalane’s long strike.
With 5 minutes left before half time and no goals scored by either side, Neo Maema had a great a chance inside the box before defenders piled up pressure on him to see the ball played back to Royal AM players. Downs continued to pesevere and regained possession, a well worked team goal followed as Maema opened the scoring lines with a pass from Mailula. The Tshwane giants took the lead going into the break by one goal, leaving the hosts to catch up in the second half.
The Brazilians kicked off the second half with immediate changes to the team that had started in the first half, Mosa Lebusa waa replaced by Khuliso Mudau as the game was set to resume. Downs pushed forward after 5 minutes in the restart, getting their first real threat through Mailula who found Sphelele Mkhulise at the edge of the box, but unfortunate to result in any further goals.
Themba Zwane made his way on to the field just before the hour mark, taking over the place of Haashim Domingo, followed by Lebohang Maboe and Bradley Ralani who exchanged with Maema and Marcelo Allende. Masandawana kept their defensive structures well to deny Thwihli Thwahla the chance of any come back in the battle, Mudau and Mkhulise teamed up to stop Mfundo Thikazi’s attempt at equalizing.
With the game nearing it’s end, Mokoena took another well orchestrated strike from far, forcing Xolani Ngcobo to make a good save for the home team. Masandawana’s resilience prevailed, Mokoena showed up in the action once again, driving the balk from the middle of the park and put the ball across the face of goal with Ngcobo making an error as the ball spills out if his hands to see Mailula strike on the rebound. Mailula completed a back-to-back scoring streak as he put the second goal in for Downs.
Masandawana showed to be dominant and ruthless, Gaston Sirino made an immediate impact shortly after coming off the bench. The Uruguay international forward challenged the goalie who went out of position, Sirino connected his ball with Ralani who scored the third and final goal of the night to sink Royal AM in front of their home crowd.
Man of the match award was given to 21-year old Limpopo born star Mailula as Bafana Ba Style head into the break with 28 points top of the log.
This is how we lined up: R. Williams, T. Morena, M. Mvala, M. Lebusa © (45′ Mudau), G. Kekana, T. Mokoena, S. Mkhulise, N. Maema (72′ Ralani), H. Domingo (59′ Zwane), C. Mailula (88′ Sirino), M. Allende (72′ Maboe)
Subs: D. Onyango, L. Kapinga, T. Zwane, A. Jali, L. Maboe, R. Coeetzee, G. Sirino, K. Mudau, B. Ralani.