In a five-goal thriller played out at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon, Rise and Shine and Masandawana were deadlocked at 2-2 with 10 minutes to go, before Rodney Ramagalela’s well-taken strike from just inside the box – his ninth of the season – put the hosts in front as they saw out the last 10 minutes to secure a memorable 3-2 win.
Ramagalela’s fine goal was his third of the season against Sundowns, adding to his brace when the teams last faced off in August, where Polokwane emerged 2-1 victors.
Thus Saturday’s result earned Rise and Shine the rare achievement of completing a league double over the 2016 CAF Champions League winners, a feat very few have been able to accomplish over the last five seasons.
In fact, Rise and Shine’s win and subsequent double makes them just the second team over the last five seasons to beat the Brazilians both home and away in the league.
Last season, just one team managed the difficult task, as PSL newbies Cape Town City took on a fatigued Sundowns side exactly a week after the Champions League final in Egypt, recording a 2-1 win thanks to a brace from former captain Lebogang Manyama.
Yet the Citizens proved that victory was not a once-off, as in the reverse leg in the Mother City just over five months later, City were the victors again, with Manyama again on the scoresheet in the 1-0 win.
City’s ‘double’ victory was the first time Sundowns had been beaten twice by the same team in the league since Pitso Mosimane took over the reins at the club.
Across the 2015/16, 2014/15 and 2013/14 seasons, no rival club was able to collect six points off Masandawana, with the last team to achieve that feat remarkably being fallen Soweto giants Moroka Swallows.
The Birds had beaten their Pretoria opponents 2-0 at Dobsonville Stadium on 30 September 2012, as Lerato Chabangu and Felix Obada inflicted the first blow on Sundowns, then coached by Johan Neeskens.
Zeca Marques’ men then lined up against their heralded rivals again on 5 March 2013, where Siyabonga Nomvethe’s first-half penalty won the game 1-0 for Swallows to complete the prestigious season double.
Kaizer Chiefs, who beat Sundowns 2-1 in the league in October last year, are the next team in line to compete a possible double over the Brazilians when they face off for the second time this season on Saturday, 27 January.