Mamelodi Sundowns extended their unbeaten record to 20 matches in the DStv Premiership with a 2-1 victory over Chippa United on Monday afternoon.
Just three players were retained from Sundowns’ loss to CR Belouizdad in Thapelo Morena, Aubrey Modiba and Peter Shalulile, while Chippa named Anthony Laffor, Oupa Manyisa and Luyolo Nomandela on the bench against their former sides.
Shalulile looked to revive his scoring run in the league on eight minutes when he had his first-time shot in the area from Themba Zwane’s through pass thumped against the post by Ismail Watenga.
Sundowns pierced through the defence and after six minutes earned their rewards as Zwane fired in from the penalty spot from a foul on the inside-wide of the area by Riaan Hanamub on Modiba.
The Chilli Boys began to get stuck in following the slow start and could’ve levelled from a free-kick by Hanamub inside the latter periods of the half and a snap shot by Augustine Kwem.
Former Sundowns player Nomandela came off the bench after a long spell on the sidelines five minutes before halftime, with Sizwe Mdlinzo sacrificed, whilst Watenga was called upon to deny Shalulile yet again.
Sundowns should’ve gone two goals up a minute after halftime through a flowing move on the near side from Shalulile to Zwane, who shot against the outside post.
It is a missed chance that was punished seconds later as Kwem beat the offside trap to find the far corner of the net from an acute angle.
Chippa called on Laffor midway in the second half in place of Gregory Damons with the context of the match in the balance.
However, Masandawana regained the lead in the last 15 minutes when Shalulile reacted quick to a rebound off the crossbar to head over the goal-line for his ninth league goal of the season.
Shalulile closed in on a brace in the closing stages after he fired a through ball from out wide against the post, however it didn’t matter as his side secured victory to go six points clear at the top and set a new league record of going unbeaten in their opening 20 matches.
Chippa: Watenga, Nhlapo, Hanamub, Mthethwa, Nsabimuyva, Konqobe, Damons, Lentjies, Kwem, Mdlinzo, Lebitso.
Subs: Mtshali, Eva Nga, Manyisa, Laffor, Mokhele, Jodwana, Nomandela, Maloisane, Sangweni.
Sundowns: Onyango, De Reuck, Lebusa, Lakay, Coetzee, Morena, Modiba, Maboe, Mkhulise, Zwane, Shalulile.
Subs: Goss, Nascimento, Kapinga, Vilakazi, Mudau, Mkhuma, Kekana, Motupa, Mvala