DStv Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns suffered a 3-0 defeat to Stellenbosch in their final home game of the season on Saturday afternoon.
Halftime: Mamelodi Sundowns 0-3 Stellenbosch FC
Date: 14 May 2020
Venue: TUKS Stadium
Sundowns made wholesale changes to the side that was held to by Kaizer Chiefs, as goalkeeper Ricardo Goss was handed only his second start alongside recalls for Themba Zwane, Grant Kekana, Bradley Ralani, Teboho Mokoena and Neo Maema.
Stellies had a dream start as they punished their hosts for a high defensive line in the sixth minute after Ashley Du Preez latched onto a ball over the top by Mogamad De Goede with a good first touch and fired a left-footed strike past the on-rushing Goss, who collided with the speedy forward.
The Brazilians continued with their high press, as they looked for pockets of space in and around the box and Maema came close to equalising in the 18th minute with a low strike across goal that missed the bottom corner agonisingly wide.
The same theme carried on as the hosts gained momentum and Maema took matters into his own hands eight minutes before the half-time break after twisting and turning in the box to find space and toe-poked an effort towards the far post that was parried away by shot-stopper Sage Stephens.
However, Steve Barker's charges doubled their lead four minutes later after Jayden Adams looped a great strike over Goss from a rebound outside the box after the Sundowns shot-stopper made a headed clearance out of his area.
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The visitors were happy to sit back and absorb the pressure early in the second stanza, as they frustrated Sundowns.
The speed of Du Preez proved decisive again for Stellies on a counter-attack just before the hour-mark, as the diminutive attacker made it 3-0 and grabbed his brace after he bundled home a shot from close range in a rebound after he had dribbled past Goss.
Sundowns reacted with a quadruple change just after that as Lyle Lakay, Gaston Sirino, Divine Lunga and Haashim Domingo all entered the fray largely for fresh legs and some tweaks in their system.
Stephens was called into action a couple of minutes later with a goal-bound save, as the game was getting scrappy and the Stellies box crowded.
The writing was on the wall for the Brazilians in the closing stages as they could not click into gear and Barker's men recorded their first ever win against Sundowns that boosted their chances of finishing third on the log.
Here's how they lined up:
Sundowns: 20. Goss, 4. Kekana, 17. Modiba, 5. Lebusa, 25. Mudau, 21. Mkhulise, 28. Mokoena, 35. Maema, 28. Ralani, 18. Zwane, 38. Shalulile.
Subs: 1. Pieterse, 27. Morena, 13. Lunga, 7. Lakay, 23. Domingo, 32. Kutumela, 33. Maboe, 10. Sirino, 9. Safranko
Stellenbosch: 17. Stephens, 16. Johannes, 8. Van Heerden, 24. Macheke, 4. De Goede, 27. Jabaar, 23. Adams, 6. Mthethwa, 15. Ortiz, 9. Du Preez, 7. Van Rooyen.
Subs: 35. Langeveldt, 32. Bombay, 3. Letsoenyo, 12. Scott, 5. Mthethwa, 21. Isaacs, 13. Dimgba.