Mamelodi Sundowns registered a fine win over Orlando Pirates at Orlando Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Cassius Mailula’s first-half winner sent The Brazilians into their 15th consecutive win in the DStv Premiership and moved the striker to his sixth goal in the league.
Masandawana was absolutely spot on right from the beginning as they looked brilliant with the ball in their possession. It took only five minutes for the defending Champions to find the back of Sipho Chaine’s net and settled into the game away from home.
The Buccaneers had their first chance at goal when they were awarded with a free kick, Monnapule Saleng aimed his shot into the box but was unfortunate at goal as Thapelo Morena headed the ball and Ronwen Williams pushed the ball out. Deon Hotto followed with another attempt for the home team with his shot being saved by Williams.
Downs midfielder Sphelele Mkhulise was brought down a few meters away from the box, Neo Maema stepped up in front of the ball and took a long range shot on target to find Chaine who made the save. The Sea Robbers were adamant to find a quick equalizing goal with multiple attempts going forward, just before the half hour mark Pirates spent time in Williams box trying to find a goal passing the ball amongst each other and eventually Kermit Erasmus took a shot only to be blocked by Morena.
Mailula came close to extending the lead for Sundowns when he was set up in attack but the Pirates defense was solid and forced him to play the ball to Khuliso Mudau whose strike was met by the goalkeeper. Chaine put the Buccaneers back in the attacking line and The Brazilians fell under pressure causing a foul. Saleng’s free kick went straight towards goal but the defensive work of Mothobi Mvala put the ball out above Williams’ posts and the game went into the break with a 1-0 lead for Bafana Ba Style.
Pirates kicked off the second half of the game and continued to put the visiting team under pressure as they created chances, in the 50th minute Tapelo Xoki put his head on to Saleng’s in coming shot but the defender misdirected his shot off target. Vincent Pule was in action as he took on Downs defense and put his shot towards goal but hit the bottom of the goalposts and his teammate Bandile Shandu had a rebound shot which was comfortably picked up by Williams.
It was sixty minute that Masandawana finally had the chance to extend the lead, Mudau won the ball from the back and found Themba Zwane upfront with Peter Shalulile against one defender, Mshishi went for goal but the Pirates keeper opened up his body to keep his team in the game and made a save. Mkhulise and Shalulile made their way off the pitch as Sipho Mbule and Aubrey Modiba were introduced followed by Thapelo Morena who exchanged with Sifiso Ngobeni.
After seventy minutes of play The Buccaneers played the ball behind the defenders with Saleng running on to the ball but the brilliant Williams got off his line to cancel the attack. Bafana Ba Style came close to doubling their lead again, Maema and Teboho Mokoena went undecided on who to take a shot in the box until Mbule stepped in to take his chance with the outside of his foot directing the ball off target.
Just before being subbed off, Zwane and Maema played the ball to Mailula in between the defenders, the young striker’s shot was saved. Surprise Ralani and Jerome Karelse who made his first appearance for The Brazilians came on for Maema and Mailula. With the last remaining minutes left to play, Saleng whipped in a free kick towards goal in efforts to equalize but met the bodies of the men in yellow.
Mamelodi Sundowns will next be facing Richards Bay at home on Tuesday, 7 February in the Nedbank Cup round of 32.
This is how we lined up:
Williams, Morena (81′ Ngobeni), Mudau, Mvala, Kekana, Maema (86′ Ralani), Mokoena, Zwane, Mkhulise (63′ Modiba), Mailula (86′ Karelse), Shalulile (63′ Mbule).
- Onyango, Ngobeni, Ralani, Jali, Mbule, Karelse, Zungu, B. Onyango, Modiba.