Mamelodi Sundowns continued their impressive unbeaten streak as they defeated Black Leopards in a tightly contested clash at Thohoyandou Stadium. The pitch was not in optimal conditions for football after heavy rain made the pitch muddy. The Brazilians needed a brace from Peter Shalulile to seal the three maximum points.
Two changes were made in the starting eleven, Siphesihle Mkhize got the nod in the eleven as he was making his first official start in the DStv Premiership. The other change was Peter Shalulile who returned from a knock to replace Gaston Sirino.
The pitch was showing that it had fought its battles during a couple of days due to the rain. The Brazilians made their intentions clear from the second minute as Shalulile perfectly controlled a pass from Romeo but his resulting shot sailed just over the Leopards goal. The Namibian – who was unavailable in the last game against Swallows FC – had another chance to open the scoring but his header could only hit the upright with the home side keeper well beaten.
Hlompho Kekana had an opportunity also but his shot was only blocked for a corner. The front three were starting to pose a threat to the home side. Kermit Erasmus who was on the score-sheet over the weekend tried to work his magic but his effort was saved. Denis Onyango who was not kept busy during the game was called to make a save after Wiseman Maluleka found space and took a shot from range but the ball was saved with ease. Both sides went to the first half locked at 0-0.
The home side was the first one to draw blood after the break as Ovidy Karuru finished off a Sibusiso Khumalo cross to take the lead. The game had to be halted for almost ten minutes as Lifa Hlongwane needed medical attention after a clash with his teammate and had to be transported to hospital. Reports later confirmed the forward had not sustained any serious injuries. Immediately as the match resumed Shalulile handed Masandawana an equaliser after a great acrobatic finish. This was his fifth goal of the DStv Premiership. With the game opening, Mothobi Mvala received his marching orders after he fouled Rodney Ramagalela who was through on goal. Sirino who had come in for Mkhize had a great opportunity to take the lead but his header was brilliantly saved by Ndlovu. Onyango had to pull a fine save to block out Roderick Kabwe’s shot.
Themba Zwane found himself with the goals at his mercy after a great pass from Shalulile but Ndlovu had to pull a top drawer save to deny Mshishi his ninth of the season. Ten additional minutes were added and it took five of those minutes for Shalulile to score his brace and seal the points for Masandawana and remain unbeaten.