Mamelodi Sundowns are still on course to secure the famous treble after advancing to the Nedbank Cup final with a 2-1 win over Royal AM on Saturday night.
Result: Royal AM 1-2 Mamelodi Sundowns
Date: 30 April 2022
Venue: Chatsworth Stadium
Sundowns made two changes from their goalless draw against Cape Town City in midweek, as Khuliso Mudau and Pavol Safranko were both recalled at the expense of Themba Zwane and Rushine De Reuck, who both dropped to the bench.
The Brazilians were not given time and space on the ball in the early stage but Neo Maema had a good chance to give them the lead in the 16th minute after a cut-back by Safranko found him unmarked on the far side of the box but he blazed his strike over the crossbar.
Royal AM continued to stifle Sundowns of space in the final third and Peter Shalulile had a chance to test goalkeeper Hugo Nyame just after the half-hour mark after a cut-back by Maema in the centre of the box but he also ballooned his strike over the crossbar.
The visitors were forced to make a change in the latter phase of the first stanza after Brian Onyango picked up an injury and he was replaced by Divine Lunga in a tactical move and that seemingly affected the rhythm of Sundowns' play as the sides remained deadlocked at halftime.
Scroll through the gallery to see the PSL stars turning out in the ABC Motsepe League.
Sundowns were forceful coming out of the halftime break and there was controversy on the hour-mark after Thabo Matlaba brought down Safranko in the box and instead of awarding a penalty, the referee gave a free-kick on the edge of the box.
However, the Brazilians made full use of that opportunity, as Aubrey Modiba broke the deadlock with a curled free-kick that deflected through the wall and sailed past Nyame.
John Maduka made a double change just after that, as he surprisingly pulled off Victor Letsoalo and brought on Mfundo Thikazi in a tactical move while Tebogo Potsane replaced Mokete Mogaila.
Thwihli Thwahla applied the pressure and they were rewarded ten minutes later as Matlaba levelled matters and redeemed himself with a powerful strike that goalkeeper Denis Onyango could only parry into his own net.
However, the hosts shot themselves in the foot in the last 14 minutes after Peter Shalulile dispossessed Nyame in the with a high press and the rebound fell to Safranko, who fired a strike into an open net.
The Brazilians reinforced their defence with the introduction of Lyle Lakay in the dying minutes in place Maema, as they held on and booked a spot in the final against holders Marumo Gallants.
Here's how they lined up:
Royal AM: 16. Nyame, 20. Mkhize, 14. Matlaba, 28. Mabuza, 13. Manganyi, 12. Mahlasela, 22. Rikhotso, 2. Msomi, 9. Macuphu, 17. Mogaila, 21. Letsoalo.
Subs: 1. Heugh, 11. Potsane, 30. Monamodi, 34. Thikazi, 42. Ncobeni, 10. Mabena, 45. George, 18. Mashikinya, 8. Phalane.
Sundowns: 14. D. Onyango, 4. Kekana, 17. Modiba, 25. Mudau, 6. B.Onyango, 15. Jali, 33. Maboe, 28. Ralani, 35. Maema, 28. Shalulile, 9. Safranko.
Subs: 1. Mweene, 7. Lakay, 23. Domingo, 24. Mokoena, 32. Kutumela, 13. Lunga, 18. Zwane, 18. Sirino, 35. Mkhulise