Durban — League Champions Mamelodi Sundowns ended their 2021/22 DStv Premiership season on a high by beating Royal AM 3-2 at the Chatsworth Stadium in Durban on Monday afternoon.
Gaston Sirino gave Masandawana the lead in the 13th minute as he latched onto a cross from Sphelele Mkhulise before striking a side footed volley into the bottom corner of the net.
Thabiso Kutumela doubled the lead early in the second half as he went for placement over power, calmly finishing beyond the reach of Patrick Nyame after being setup by Sirino.
Peter Shalulile put Sundowns 3-0 ahead after the hour mark as Neo Maema picked out Teboho Mokoena with a through ball. Rather than opt to strike himself, Mokoena teed in Shalulile for a simple tap-in.
Just after conceding their third, Royal AM had a good opportunity to pull one back as they were awarded a penalty. Victor Letsoalo was unable to increase his goal tally from the spot as Downs stand-in goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene rolled back the years by making a smart save. Were it not for Mweene, the game could have turned out with a different storyline as the veteran shot-stopper made a number of crucial saves.
Letsoalo made amends for his penalty miss in the 68th minute as he scored from close range after being teed in by Tebogo Potsane. Mokete Mogaila then scored a second for Royal AM in the 76th minute as he was fastest to react to the ball following a corner.
After clawing themselves back into the contest, Sundowns clearly felt threatened by the home side as they started to defend deeper.
Royal AM struggled to carve out chances in the first half and only had one shot on target in that time. It was a weak header which was easily saved by Mweene.
In a bid to regain organization, Royal AM made two early second half chances as Mfundo Thikazi and Jabulani Ncobeni came on for Mxolisi Macuphu and Siphesihle Msomi.
By losing the game, John Maduka’s side lost ground in their race to finish the league in second place which will earn them qualification to next season’s CAF Champions League. They still do have a chance of finishing the league in second but their final gam of the season against Orlando Pirates in Chatsworth on Friday night is essentially a must win.
Sundowns will next be in action when they face off against Marumo Gallants in the final of the Nedbank Cup at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Saturday night.