Peter Shalulile moved into double figures for goals in the DStv Premiership after bagging a brace in Mamelodi Sundowns' 3-2 win over Royal AM on Wednesday afternoon.
Result: Mamelodi Sundowns 3-2 Royal AM
Date: 08 December 2021
Venue: Loftus Versfeld Stadium
The Brazilians made four changes to the side that were held by Stellenbosch, as Rushine De Reuck, Thapelo Morena, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Neo Maema were all recalled while Royal dropped Victor Letsoalo to the bench, with Ndumiso Mabena taking his place.
Sundowns were pressing high in the early exchanges and it paid off in the sixth minute after Thabiso Kutumela gave opened the scoring with a strike into the bottom corner from a headed clearance in the box.
The game opened up after that as Tebogo Potsane had a glorious chance to level matters for the visitors in the 25th minute after he was played through on goal by Mabena but his shot at the near post was saved by goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene with a trailing leg.
John Maduka's charges threatened on counter-attacks and kept the Brazilians quiet in their defensive third but the hosts were resilient at the back and managed to head to the break with their lead intact.
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Sundowns made a tactical change at half-time, as Mothobi Mvala replaced Mosa Lebusa but Shalulile should have doubled their lead soon after from Kutumela's through ball but he missed the gaping net with a side-footed shot.
Shalulile had a similar chance for the Brazilians in the 65th minute from a different side after Morena played a diagonal through ball and this time the Namibian's tap-in found the back of the net to double the lead.
Thwihli Thwahla were getting desperate, pushing numbers forward and they were punished from their own corner 18 minutes before time, as Aubrey Modiba broke away clear and played a square pass that was tapped home by Shalulile, who made it 3-0 and got his brace.
Royal did not drop their heads as second-half substitute Letsoalo pulled a goal back nine minutes before time unmarked in the box with a volley over Mweene from Potsane's cross.
There was a nervy ending after De Reuck conceded a penalty in the last minute and Letsoalo sent Mweene the wrong way with an expert spot-kick.
However, Mweene ensured Sundowns walked away with the spoils after making a stoppage-time save at his near post, as Sundowns held on to go ten points clear at the top of the log.
Here's how they line up:
Sundowns: 1. Mweene, 5. Lebusa, 7. Lakay, 28. De Reuck, 27. Morena, 4. Kekana, 32. Kutumela, 15. Jali, 35. Maema, 24. Vilakazi, 38. Shalulile.
Subs: 20. Goss, 37. Modiba, 34. Mvala, 21. Mkhulise, 26. Kapinga, 9. Safranko, 18. Zwane, 10. Sirino, 11. Erasmus.
Royal AM: 16. Nyame, 3. Mahashe, 24. Lingwati, 13. Manganyi, 20. Mkhize, 12. Mahlasela, 8. Phalane, 30. Monamodi, 50. Masuku, 10. Mabena, 11. Potsane.
Subs: 1. Mabokgwane, 5. Dlamini, 9. Sera, 18. Mashikinya, 19. Matjila, 21. Letsaoalo, 28. Mabuza, 42. Ncobeni, 45. George.