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Stellenbosch v Mamelodi Sundowns Match Report, 2021/12/04

FT
1 - 1
STL
MLS
J. Mendieta (43 pen)
L. Lakay (59)
Danie Craven Stadium
Stellenbosch FC 1-1 Mamelodi Sundowns: Masandawana fail to go 11 points clear on PSL log
22:39 SAST 2021/12/04
Ashley Du Preez, Stellenbosch FC & Khuliso Mudau, Mamelodi Sundowns, November 2021
The defending PSL champions were trailing at half-time after Stellies had taken a surprise lead

Mamelodi Sundowns fought back to deny Stellenbosch FC a victory as the two teams drew 1-1 in a PSL match which was played on Saturday night.

Junior Mendieta handed Stellies the lead with a well-taken penalty and Masandawana were trailing at half-time for the first time in the league this season, but Lyle Lakay levelled matters for the visitors after the restart.

Co-head coaches Manqoba Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena made three changes to the Sundowns team which faced and defeated Sekhukhune United 2-0 last weekend. Kennedy Mweene, Rivaldo Coetzee and Thabiso Kutumela were the three Masandawana players who were recalled to the starting line-up. 

On the other hand, Stellenbosch coach Steve Barker made two changes to the team which took on Royal AM and lost 1-0 last weekend. Kganyane Letsoenyo and 19-year-old central defender Athenkosi Mcaba were the two new faces in the Stellies starting line-up.

Sundowns started the match slowly, but they grew into the match gradually and they began pressing the hosts and they were awarded a free-kick near the right touchline. A well-taken set-piece from Lyle Lakay found Grant Kekana, whose flicked effort was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Sage Stephens.

Stephens was called into action again after Themba Zwane had played a defence splitting pass for Kutumela, whose first-time low shot was well-saved by the former Cape Town City keeper after the Stellenbosch defence was exposed down the right hand side.

However, Stellies looked dangerous on the counter and they were awarded a penalty after the pacey Ashley Du Preez was fouled in the box by Khuliso Mudau. Junior Mendieta stepped up and scored from the spot-kick to hand Stellenbosch a 1-0 lead in the 43rd minute and the hosts were leading at half-time.

Mokwena and Mngqithi pulled out Mudau and introduced attack-minded right-back Thapelo Morena prior to the start of the second-half. Most of Masandawana's attacks came from the right hand side with Morena making some dangerous overlapping runs.

Parity was restored in the 59th minute when Kutumela cut inside from the right flank after being set up by Morena and the diminutive striker played a pass for Lyle Lakay, who fired a low shot past Stephens from outside the box to make it 1-1.

Masandawana continued to dominate the game after levelling matters and Stellies had to find a way to stop the visitors from taking the lead for the first time. Barker decided to refresh his midfield by introducing Granwald Scott - a seasoned central midfielder. 

However, the momentum was with the visitors in the latter stages of the game as they pushed for a late winning goal, but Stephens produced two good saves to deny Morena and Lakay to ensure that the game ended in a 1-1 draw .

Sundowns had a chance to extend their lead to 11 points at the top of the league standings by defeating Stellies, but they are now nine points above second-placed Royal AM. Stellenbosch remained fourth on the log.

Masandawana, who are still undefeated this season, will now take on Royal AM in a top-of-the-log clash on Wednesday, while Stellenbosch are set to square off with SuperSport United on the same day.