Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 Chippa United: Masandawana overcome Chilli Boys to go five points clear
Riaan Hanamub, Chippa United & Peter Shalulile, Mamelodi Sundowns, January 21
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Peter Shalulile caught the eye with his creativity as the prolific marksman grabbed two assists on the day

Mamelodi Sundowns maintained their unbeaten start to their PSL campaign when they brushed aside Chippa United 2-0 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Lebohang Maboe opened the scoring with a looping header before Gaston Sirino doubled the Brazilians' lead with a well-taken shot. 

Masandawana were looking to record their second consecutive win in the league having shown the courage to come back to defeat Black Leopards 2-1 while a man down in midweek.

Sirino, Andile Jali and Ricardo Nascimento were among the five players who were recalled to the starting line-up by Sundowns head coach Manqoba Mngqithi.

On the other hand, the Chilli Boys were hoping to win two matches in a row in the league for the first time this season having thrashed a hapless Leopards side 3-0 last weekend. 

Former Sundowns captain Dan Malesela, the Chippa head coach, made one change to the starting line-up which faced Leopards as Avela Cezu replaced Augustine Chidi Kwem in the team.

Masandawana controlled the match from the start playing their usual brand of quick, possession football - trying to find a way to penetrate the Chilli Boys defence.

The hosts fired the first warning when Kermit Erasmus' powerful low shot went inches wide of Chippa goalkeeper Ayanda Mtshali's left upright.

Mtshali was then beaten in the 23rd minute when Peter Shalulile's delightful cross was headed home by Maboe to make it 1-0 to Sundowns.

The former Free State Stars shot-stopper then became a busy man as he made a brilliant save to deny Themba Zwane, before coming out to deny Erasmus from a one-on-one situation. 

The pressure was mounting on the Chilli Boys defence and they conceded another goal six minutes before the half--time break after some great work by Shalulile. 

The Namibia international unselfishly passed the ball to Sirino, who fired past Mtshali to make it 2-0 to Sundowns heading into the half-time break with the defending champions having dominated the first half.

Masandawana continued to push for more goals after the restart with Maboe forcing Mtshali into a fine save at the near-post and Lyle Lakay placed his attempt narrowly wide of the target.

Malesela decided to introduce Tumiso Mogakwe and Kurt Lentjies in the 55th minute as the Chilli Boys looked to find the back of the net for the first time on the day. 

The hosts then upped the tempo as Zwane's effort was blocked on the goal-line and Mtshali made a fantastic save to deny Shalulile from close range. 

Accomplished attacker Anthony Laffor, who spent eight years with Sundowns, came on for the Chilli Boys in the closing stages as Malesela's side looked to pull one back.

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However, the visitors could not penetrate the Brazilians' resolute defence and seriously test keeper Denis Onyango and ultimately, Sundowns ran out 2-0 winners on the day.

The victory saw Masandawana open up a five-point lead at the top of the league standings and they will now take on Stellebosch FC in the Nedbank Cup Last 32 game on February 3.

While the Chilli Boys remained 13th on the table and they are scheduled to take on National First Division (NFD) outfit Free State Stars in the Nedbank Cup Last 32 match on February 7.