Mamelodi Sundowns returned to winning ways with a comprehensive 3-2 victory away to Royal AM in the DStv Premiership.
The Brazilians finished the season in style, scoring three goals in a dominant performance against Royal AM in Durban.
The Yellow Nation was in full voice as the game kicked off ready to celebrate their 12th Premier Soccer League title. The visitors looked deadly in the opening 10 minutes of the encounter, Thabiso Kutumela blocked a shot on target from Victor Letsoalo.
The hosts continued to put the ball into Downs’ box through Thabo Matlaba and Shaun Mogaila in an attempt to find the lead for Thwihli Thwahla. Mogaila’s first touch in the box let him down as the ball went out for goal kick.
Masandawana were quick to regroup in finding each other, Sphelele Mkhulise worked the ball from the right side of the pitch to connect with Gaston Sirino’s run on the opposite side of the box. Sirino connected well with the ball to beat Patrick Nyame and put Bafana Ba Style ahead in the clash.
Kutumela’s goal bound effort took a deflection on the defense of Royal and gave Masandawana a corner kick. Lyle Lakay went up to deliver the ball, but it was cleared out of danger by Lantshane Phalane.
As the half time approached, the game was played almost exclusively in Royal’s half as the visitors kept their high line and created offside traps for Masandawana.
Bafana Ba Style doubled the advantage shortly after the break, Kutumela scored in the 48th minute with a clinical finish into the bottom corner. Royal AM went in on a high to close the gap, Mfundo Thikazi’s strike with his left foot went past the face of goal, sending warning signs of a strong comeback.
Peter Shalulile tapped into an almost empty net from close range after the hour mark. Teboho Mokoena’s pull away in attack was brilliant as the 25-year-old charged with force together with Shalulile who extended his goal scoring tally to 22 league goals this season.
Royal had the opportunity to come back into the game after Letsoalo was brought down in the box. Grant Kekana’s challenge from the back on the striker awarded Royal AM a penalty, however Zambian international shot stopper reminded the crowd why he’s the best and confidently punched out Letsoalo’s attempt for the home team.
The visitors’ celebration of their penalty save was short- lived as Royal’s relentless efforts to score eventually paid off. A quick play in free kick from Tebogo Potsane to Letsoalo beat Masandawan’s defense, the score changed to 3-1.
The Brazilians could have had the fourth goal in the 70th minute, only for Neo Maema’s mid-air cracker of a shot going on target to be blocked by Jabulani Ncobeni. Another opportunity to extend the lead fell to Namibian talisman Shalulile, a pass from Kutumela was just a little too much for Shalulile to get to connect with.
Scoring in the last 15 minutes of the half, Downs defence seemed to lose concentration for a moment and were punished. It was a sloppy goal to concede as the defense was unable to take the ball out of danger, Mogaila’s ball found its way into the back of the net to end the heated encounter in 3-2.
Masandawana went on to lift the DStv Premiership trophy as they finished their campaign with 65 points – 16 ahead of runners up.
This is how we lined up:
- Mweene ©, G. Kekana, D. Lunga, K. Mudau (72′ Mashiane), L. Lakay, S. Mkhulise (72′ Vilakazi), T. Mokoena, T. Kutumela (72′ Saavedra), N. Maema (72′ Maraisane), G. Sirino, P. Shalulile.
- Goss, A. Modiba, M. Lebusa, M. Mvala, P. Maraisane, O. Mashiane, S. Vilakazi, E. Saavedra