Sundowns survive Royal AM scare

Premiership

Mamelodi Sundowns held off a late comeback from Royal AM to claim a 3-2 win at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

Thapelo Morena, Rushine De Reuck, Neo Maema and Sibusiso Vilakazi were the changes instituted by Masandawana from their 1-1 draw at Stellenbosch FC on Saturday, while John Maduka surprisingly started with top scorer Victor Letsoalo on the bench.

Sundowns were off the mark inside six minutes when a mistimed clearance by the visitors landed kindly to Thabiso Kutumela, who needed no second invitation to volley into the bottom-corner.

The opener urged the Brazilians to go in search for more towards the half-hour mark and a scorcher from the edge of the area by Maema almost made it two, but Hugo Nyame palmed tremendously.

Moments at the other end, Royal AM got given a glorious chance to draw level through Tebogo Potsane from a lay-off by Ndumiso Mabena but goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene cleared.

Royal AM maintained pressure on the Brazilians towards halftime and another solid stop from Mweene thwarted Mabena’s first-time shot from a tight angle.

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Despite the lead, Masandawana decided to make a substitution ahead of the second half whereby Mothobi Mvala came on in the place of Mosa Lebusa.

Regardless, Sundowns made it two midway in the second half when Peter Shalulile got in at the back-post of the area to tap home a cross-field supply moments after he missed a sitter.

With over ten minutes to go, Shalulile bagged a double after he ran into the area to pick up a square pass from the left by Aubrey Modiba for a composed close-range finish.

The hat-trick looked on the cards for Shalulile minutes on through a smart attempt from an acute angle, but he battered the upright.

Royal AM pulled one back when Victor Letsoalo made a late run in the area to volley Potsane’s cross into the roof of the net ten minutes to the end.

A comeback loomed as Letsoalo directed Mweene the wrong way from the penalty spot in the last minute of normal play after De Reuck handled in the area.

Royal AM could’ve indeed been level through a snap shot at the near post from Potsane, but Mweene made a fine stop to see his side to victory.

Confirmed line-ups:

Sundowns: Mweene, Lebusa, Lakay, De Reuck, Morena, Kekana, Kutumela, Jali, Maema, Vilakazi, Shalulile.

Subs: Goss, Modiba, Mvala, Mkhulise, Kapinga, Safranko, Zwane, Sirino, Erasmus.

Royal AM: Nyame, Mahashe, Lingwati, Manganyi, Mkhize,  Mahlasela, Phalane, Monamodi, Masuku, Mabena, Potsane.

Subs: Mabokgwane, Dlamini, Sera, Mashikinya, Matjila, Letsaoalo, Mabuza, Ncobeni, George.

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