Black Leopards 1-2 Mamelodi Sundowns: Shalulile inspires 10-man Masandawana
Peter Shalulile, Mamelodi Sundowns & Roderick Kabwe, Black Leopards, January 2021
The Brazilians showed courage as they came from behind to defeat Lidoda Duvha despite being numerically disadvantaged 

Mamelodi Sundowns returned to winning ways in the PSL after securing a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Black Leopards in a match which was played on Wednesday evening.

Ovidy Karuru opened the scoring for Lidoda Duvha just after the restart, but a second-half brace by Peter Shalulile inspired Masandawana to a win. 

Lidoda Duvha were hoping to avoid their third consecutive defeat in the league having been thrashed 3-0 by Chippa United at home over the weekend and the club then fired coach Dylan Kerr two days later.

Lehlohonolo Seema, who was appointed Leopards' caretaker coach, named an attacking starting line-up with Karuru, Rodney Ramagalela and Lefa Hlongwane deployed as the front three.

Meanwhile, Masandawana were desperate to snap their three-match winless run having been held to a 1-1 draw by Swallows FC at home over the weekend.

Mothobi Mvala, who is a defensive midfielder by trade, was deployed in central defence by Sundowns head coach Manqoba Mngqithi, while Shalulile made his return to the starting line-up.

Although Masandawana controlled the match from the start, it was Lidoda Duvha, who came close to scoring first after a good run by Sibusiso Khumalo.

The experienced left-back dribbled past his marker, before cutting inside and he unleashed a low shot which narrowly missed the target with Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango rooted to the ground. 

This served as a wake-up call for the visitors, who should have scored through an unmarked Shalulile after he connected with a quality cross from Kermit Erasmus.

The Namibia international's header beat Leopards keeper King Ndlovu, but the upright came to the hosts' rescue and they cleared the ball away from danger.

Lidoda Duvha finished the first-half the stronger of the two teams albeit they were limited to only having shots from outside the box with the Masandawana defence looking impenetrable.

Wiseman Maluleke's curling shot was easily gathered by Onyango, who then produced a great save to deny Hlongwane to ensure that the first-half ended with the two teams locked at 0-0. 

It took a minute for the home side to break the deadlock in the second-half following their half-time team talk with Seema.

Khumalo played a low cross which was turned home by Karuru from close range to make it 1-0 to Leopards with the Sundowns defence caught ball watching.

Mngqithi reacted by introducing Gaston Sirino as the defending champions looked to restore parity and the Uruguayan playmaker made an immediate impact.

Sirino played a cut-back pass for Shalulile, who beat Ndlovu with an acrobatic effort to make it 1-1 in the 64th minute after his initial shot was blocked.

However, Sundowns were reduced to 10 players two minutes later when Mvala was given a straight red card after denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity to Ramagalela.

Lidoda Duvha looked to take advantage of their numerical superiority over Masandawana, but Karuru missed a sitter when he failed to direct Roderick Kabwe's cross towards goal.

Onyango then pulled off a magnificent save to deny Kabwe, whose deflected shot was heading for the near-post as pressure mounted on Sundowns in the closing stages.

However, the Tshwane giants were still brave enough to launch attacks and they managed to grab a late winning goal through the hard-working Shalulile.

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The current PSL Golden Boot holder controlled the ball brilliantly in the box, before firing past Ndlovu to seal a 2-1 victory to Sundowns in stoppage time. 

The win saw Sundowns move three points clear of second-placed SuperSport United and third-placed Swallows FC, while Leopards remained in the relegation zone in 15th place. 

Leopards will look to bounce back to winning ways when they host TS Galaxy on Saturday, while Sundowns are set to face Chippa United in Tshwane on Sunday.