Shalulile-inspired Mamelodi Sundowns edge Richards Bay to book Nedbank Cup Last 16 spot

Peter Shalulile, Mamelodi Sundowns, February 2022Backpagepix
  • Goals from Shalulile (brace) and Lebusa earned Downs the win
  • The Brazilians are one of the first two teams to reach the Last 16
  • Masandawana will now start their Champions League group stage campaign

WHAT HAPPENED? The Tshwane giants began their defence of the lucrative tournament with a victory over the Natal Rich Boyz in a match played at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Tshwane.

It took just 11 minutes for Lesedi Kapinga to mark his return to the team with an assist as he set up Peter Shalulile who netted to give Sundowns the lead.

However, Richards Bay surged forward in numbers and they were awarded a penalty after Sakhile Hlongwa was fouled by goalkeeper Denis Onyango in the hosts' box. Orlando Pirates loanee Nkanyiso Zungu then beat Onyango from the spot to make it 1-1 on the half-hour mark.

The hosts upped the tempo after the restart and they restored their lead when Sipho Mbule's corner-kick was headed home by Mosa Lebusa to hand Sundowns a 2-1 lead just a minute into the second-half.

Shalulile then grabbed his brace when he beat keeper Salim Magoola with a fine finish in the 55th minute. However, Masandawana went to sleep at the back and they conceded when Katlego Makateng scored with a long-range shot in the last minute of the game.

Ultimately, Sundowns emerged as 3-2 winners over Richards Bay who were eliminated by the PSL champions from the Nedbank Cup for the second year running.

ALL EYES ON: Shalulile who displayed his ruthlessness in front of goal as the Brazilians defeated a stubborn Natal Rich Boyz side.

The 29-year-old hitman's brace took his tally to 11 goals from 18 matches across all competitions in the current campaign and he also is the PSL's top scorer despite having been sidelined for two months due to an injury.

The man nicknamed Shasha has now scored four goals in his last four competitive games. Coach Rhulani Mokwena will be hoping that Shalulile carries his scoring form into the Caf Champions League.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Masandawana became one of the first two clubs to progress to this season's Nedbank Cup Last 16 with Marumo Gallants having defeated NFD side Magesi 3-1 in the other game which was also played on Tuesday.

Sundowns were able to carry their impressive form from the PSL into the cup competition and they have now won 16 matches in a row across all competitions.

Tshwane giants' ambitions of retaining both the PSL title and Nedbank Cup are very much alive.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR SUNDOWNS? The Brazilians will now start their Champions League Group B campaign with a match against Al Hilal Omdurman of Sudan on Saturday.

The game is scheduled to take place at Loftus Versfeld Stadium with Masandawana undefeated in their last five matches against Al Hilal, having recorded four wins and one draw since losing to the North African side in 2008.

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