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Mamelodi Sundowns v Royal AM Match Report, 08/12/2021

3 - 2
T. Kutumela (6)
P. Shalulile (65)
P. Shalulile (72)
V. Letsoalo (81)
V. Letsoalo (90 pen)
Loftus Versfeld Stadium
Mamelodi Sundowns 3-2 Royal AM: Shalulile double lift Masandawana to vital victory
18:33 GMT 08/12/2021
Thabiso Kutumela of Mamelodi Sundowns celebrates goal.
The Brazilians maintained their unbeaten start to the season after a resounding victory against the visiting Thwihli Thwahla at Loftus Versfeld

Mamelodi Sundowns remained unbeaten in the Premier Soccer League after beating the hard-fighting Royal AM 3-2 in a match at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Wednesday.

It was Thabiso Kutumela who put the home team ahead in the sixth minute before Peter Shalulile popped up with two second-half goals in the 65th and 72nd minutes.

However, a late rally by the visitors saw Sepana Letsoalo pull a goal back in the 81st minute, and then score from the penalty spot in the 90th minute but it was not enough to get them something from the game as the points had already been secured for the hosts.

The Brazilians started the game on a high note and with only six minutes played they shook the net when Kutumela opened the scoring with a sublime volley into the bottom corner and past the stranded goalkeeper Hugo Nyame for his second goal of the season.

Two minutes late the visitors created their first chance after Ndumiso Mabena and Menzi Masuku combined well to set up Tebogo Potsane, but Sundowns’ Mosa Lebusa used his experience to stop the attack on the right and clear the ball for what proved to be a fruitless corner.

In the 13th minute, Sundowns almost doubled their lead when Kutumela and Thapelo Morena played a one-two down the right flank, and the ball fell back to Morena, who played in a low cross that was blocked by Royal defender Mzwanele Mahashe.

Five minutes later, Andile Jali became the first player to be shown a yellow card after a clumsy foul on Morena on the edge of the box.

Sundowns continued to search for the second goal and in the 25th minute, Neo Maema caused Royal defenders trouble again, after he turned quickly in midfield and fired a right-footed effort that went inches wide with keeper Nyame off his line.

A minute later, Sundowns goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, who was starting his second straight game having featured in the 1-1 draw against Stellenbosch FC in place of regular Denis Onyango, pulled off a great save after denying Masuku from point-blank range.

In the 28th minute, the game was stopped to allow Zambia’s Mweene to receive treatment from the medical team after colliding with Potsane.

Seven minutes later, Mweene was called upon to help Sundowns keep the lead after coming quick off his line to claim a dangerous cross delivered from the right-wing by Zukile Mkhize.

Thwihli Thwahla continued to camp at Sundowns’ danger zone seeking to draw level and in the 36th minute, defender Rushine De Reuck denied Mabena from finding the back of the net after putting his body on the line to make a great block in the box.

With a minute left to the half-time whistle, Mweene calmly claimed the ball from the in-swinging free-kick delivered by Mabena before making another save to deny Masuku at the near post and keep the score 1-0 at the break.

Upon the resumption, Sundowns made their first substitution as Lebusa was benched for Mothobi Mvala and in the 52nd minute Shalulile came close to doubling Sundowns’ lead, but his right-footed effort kissed the bar.

However, in the 65th minute, Shalulile made up for the missed chance to double Sundown's lead with his 10th of the season with a clever tap-in following a pin-point cross from the right-wing by Morena.

After being booked for a tackle on Lantshene Phalane, Shalulile made amends yet again to notch his second but third for Masandawana with 18 minutes left to the final whistle after finishing off a blistering counter-attack from the PSL champions.

With nine minutes left to the final whistle, substitute Letsoalo pulled a goal back for Royal after beating Sundowns’ offside trap to sneak the ball past the advancing Mweene and he then scored from the penalty spot in added minutes to set up a nervy ending.

However, the two goals were not enough as Sundowns held on to walk away victors and move 11 points clear at the top of the 16-team table with 34 points from 14 matches.