Durban - A solitary Peter Shalulile goal gave Mamelodi Sundowns a 1-0 victory over their city rivals SuperSport United to claim the bragging rights in the Tshwane derby.
Shalulile grabbed his 12th goal of the season early on after he was put through one-on-one with SuperSport goalkeeper Boalefa Pule. The Namibian international remained calm and slotted the ball in to the bottom right corner to put his side 1-0 up in the ninth minute.
Bafana Ba Style continued their charge for a fifth Premiership title in a row and extended their lead at the top of the standings to 14 points.
A Covid-19 ravaged Matsatsansa side lined up without club captain Ronwen Williams,Teboho Mokoena, Sipho Mbule and Bradley Grobler in a second Tshwane Derby in a space of four weeks.
Sundowns, however, would have been confident going into this match with the likes of Dennis Onyango, Themba Zwane and Rivaldo Coetzee returning to the team. The Brazilians were still unbeaten in the DSTV Premiership and had won ten of their opening 14 matches.
Assistant coach, Andre Arendse, who stood in for the absent Kaitano Tembo, would have been pleased with the start his men made as they threatened the Brazilians goal in the opening minutes.
A sweeping Onismor Bhasera low cross in the fifth minute was met well by Gampani Lungu inside the box, but his shot was spectacularly parried over the bar by Onyango.
However, the opening half was largely dominated by Sundowns ended, who looked comfortable pushing the ball around.
SuperSport started the second stanza with renewed vigour. But with the Sundowns defence remaining resolute, Matsatsansa resorted to shots from outside the box and looked dangerous with their set-pieces.
Shalulile, though, continued to be a menace for the opposition defence, and the SuperSport keeper had to come to their rescue when the Sundowns striker latched on to a bad back pass by youngster Kegan Phillips. Pule, quick on his feet, rushed out to block the effort from close range in the 74th minute.
"It was a tough match, but we made it tough for ourselves."— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) December 11, 2021
Manqoba Mngqithi believes Sundowns made the match difficult by not finishing their chances. Full interview 👇#DStvPrem
The Sundowns technical team would’ve been pleased with their side's ability to create chances, but very disappointed at their conversion rate. They continued to carve out clear-cut opportunities, but failed to convert.
Baroka will be the next test for the high-flying Sundowns at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium on Tuesday. SuperSport have a week to prepare for their next encounter with Sekhukhune United at the Emirates Airline Park on Saturday.