The Brazilians became the first team to reach the MTN8 final after beating Kaizer Chiefs 3-2 on aggregate over the two-legged semi-final at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville yesterday.
Sundowns won the return leg at home 2-1 thanks to a brace from Shalulile, while Ashley du Preez scored for Chiefs.
The game was wrapped up in the first half, with Shalulile scoring 10 seconds into the game before he cancelled out Du Preez’s* penalty on the stroke of half-time.
The Brazilians have won all 10 matches since the start of the season across all competitions, and Shalulile said they want to play well and win silverware.
“It means a lot (to reach the final). We want to make a statement as a club that it’s possible for a club to win five trophies,” he said on Supersport TV after racking up the Man-of-the-match award.
“But for Sundowns and my teammates, we just want to win trophies – it doesn’t mean if you play good football, you can’t win trophies.”
Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena was happy with the contribution of the newbies.
Lucas Ribeiro Costa proved why Sundowns broke the bank to lure him from Belgium – he worked hard to assist Shalulile’s second goal.
Mokwena also credited the newcomers from last season when the team won only the Dstv Premiership.
“We haven’t been in a final since (last season). This is a fairly new group that we’ve established now.”
“There were a couple of new players that we signed last season, and then there were two or three transfer windows (that followed thereafter).
“So, it’s a fairly new group, apart from Denis (Onyango), Mshishi (Themba Zwane) and Thapelo Morena. The rest of these boys are new – Ronza (Ronwen Williams) and Tebza (Teboho Mokoena).
“It’s our first final together. And that’s the positive and what I want to focus on. It’s a big week where we beat two, two big teams in one week. It’s incredible!”
Pirates beat both Soweto giants Chiefs and Orlando Pirates in a space of three days, but their win over the former left a lot to be desired, given the refereeing decisions of Luxolo Badi.
Badi should have awarded Chiefs a penalty in stoppage time after Thapelo Maseko kicked Mduduzi Mdantsane from behind inside the box. Instead, he waved play on as Sundowns marched into the final.
A 2-2 draw would have seen Chiefs reach the final on the away goal rule, and their coach Molefi Ntseki suggested they were robbed after he saw the replay.
“Unfortunately, we can’t change that decision, but one can tell it was a penalty. We were (supposed) to be given that penalty because he (Maseko) targeted him (Mdantsane) from behind,” Ntseki said.
“But unfortunately, Kaizer Chiefs are on the losing side and Sundowns have won this game, when we should have won the penalty.”