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Stellenbosch FC blow champions Sundowns away at Tuks Stadium

Jayden Adams of Stellenbosch FC celebrates with team-mates after scoring their second goal during their DStv Premiership game against Mamelodi Sundowns at Tuks Stadium in Tshwane on Saturday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Jayden Adams of Stellenbosch FC celebrates with team-mates after scoring their second goal during their DStv Premiership game against Mamelodi Sundowns at Tuks Stadium in Tshwane on Saturday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Published May 14, 2022

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Johannesburg — Champions Mamelodi Sundowns got a reality check after they were trounced 3-0 by Stellenbosch in the penultimate round of the DStv Premiership at Tuks Stadium, Pretoria, on Saturday afternoon.

Despite the embarrassing loss, Sundowns remained on top of the league standings with 62 points, while Stellenbosch kept their hopes of finishing in the top three alive as they are two points behind the third-placed Royal AM who have a game in hand.

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Sundowns may have long wrapped up the title, but they went into the final four games of the season hoping to beat their best record of winning the championship with 71 points.

However, after dropping points in their 1-1 draw with Kaizer Chiefs last weekend that meant they could only bag 68 points if they were to win their last two games of the league season.

The Brazilians’ coaching trio, Rulani Mokwena, Manqoba Mngqithi and Steve Komphela, made a handful of changes to the team that started against Chiefs, including dropping third fiddle Reyaad Pieterse for fourth choice Ricardo Goss.

The somewhat makeshift Sundowns team looked the part in the early stages of the game, with striker Peter Shalulile putting his effort wide after being teed up by Neo Maema.

Stellies, however, quickly extinguished Sundowns’ fire as they took a surprise lead. Captain Mogamad De Goede unleashed a long ball that found Ashley Du Preez who beat the offside trap, controlled well before slotting past Goss.

That goal forced the Brazilians to come out of their box as they went in hunt of an equaliser. They dominated possession, with Shalulile, who was in search of his 23rd league goal, posing the most threat for Stellies defence.

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However, it was Neo Maema who nearly found the much-needed goal for the home side as he sent his marker for a hot dog inside the box before forcing Sage Stephens into a very smart save.

Stellies, though, pounced from another trademark long ball that saw Goss making a poor clearance with a header that found Dean van Rooyen on the edge of the box.

Van Rooyen didn’t waste time as he teed up Jayden Adams who delightfully lobbed the ball over Goss who was out of his line as Stellies took a hefty lead heading into the interval.

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With Mokwena having raced down the tunnel even before the whistle went off for the break, you’d have expected the champions to come out guns blazing in the second half.

Indeed, that was the case as the Brazilians surged forward in search of a goal that was going to bring them back into the game, but Stellies' defence, with the help of Stephens, stood firm.

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To Sundowns’ anguish, the visitors grabbed the third of the match after van Rooyen put Du Preez through.

The pacy striker who had raced in between two defence to go one-on-one with Goss appeared to be stopped in his tracks by Grant Kekana, who made a tackle, before slotting the loose ball that flew over Goss into an empty net.

Sundowns made as many as four substitutions in response to Stellies’ third goal but that didn’t yield any results as Stephens and his defensive unit stood their ground to earn invaluable points at the nation’s capital.

@Mihlalibaleka

IOL Sport

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