Shalulile double takes Sundowns to MTN8 final

Players of Sundowns © Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns defeated Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 (3-2 on aggregate) at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday afternoon to secure a place in next month’s MTN8 final.

This semifinal, second-leg clash was decided by a brace of goals from Peter Shalulile, who netted in both the game’s opening seconds and injury time at the end of the first half to see the Brazilians emerge victorious in a heavyweight bout that remained tense throughout.

As for the Amakhosi, who were given hope by Ashley Du Preez’s penalty and remained in the contest right to the final whistle, this defeat will be a bitter pill to swallow and further extends their long, long wait for a return to trophy winning form.

Sundowns made the best possible start, scoring just 10 seconds after the kick-off when Peter Shalulile charged down Brandon Petersen’s attempted clearance from outside his penalty area and was able to provide a brilliant finish from a tight angle to put the hosts 1-0 up on the day and 2-1 overall.

Chiefs’ first genuine chance to threaten Sundowns’ goal arrived in the 16th minute when the pace of Ashley Du Preez took him free down the inside right channel, but he was unable to hit the target from a tight angle.

On 32 minutes the Amakhosi were awarded a penalty when Sipho Mbule’s awkward attempt to head a corner kick clear resulted in a hand-ball. Du Preez took on the spot kick and beat Ronwen Williams for 1-1 on the day and 2-2 overall.

Chiefs upped their intensity after the equaliser and created a fine opening in the final minute of regulation time before the interval, but Yusuf Maart’s shot went straight into the arms of Williams.

And with halftime looming, the Brazilians struck a second goal four minutes into added time: a counter attack resulted in Lucas Ribeiro providing an intelligent cross from the left of the box to pick out Shalulile, who finished with a close-range header to put ‘Downs 2-1 up in the game and 3-2 overall.

Changes early in the second half saw Sundowns improve their counter attacking ability with the introduction of Thapelo Maseko, while Chiefs boosted their forward line with Christian Saile and Jasond Gonzalez just before the hour mark.

On 62 minutes the Soweto side put together a sweeping attack which saw Du Preez drive a shot toward goal, but Williams made an excellent reaction save with his legs to keep the hosts in front.

Chiefs kept up their search for an equaliser and were controversially denied a penalty in injury time at the end of the game when Mduduzi Mdantsane appeared to be felled in the box by Maseko, but the referee ignored pleas for a second spot kick. Television replays suggested the Amakhosi had a strong case.

Sundowns will face either Orlando Pirates or Stellenbosch FC (who meet in the second leg of their semi on Sunday 24 September) in the final, set for Saturday 7 October.

Mamelodi Sundowns (2) 2 (Shalulile 1’ 45+4’)

Kaizer Chiefs (1) 1 (Du Preez 34’ pen)

First leg 1-1; Sundowns won 3-2 on aggregate

SUNDOWNS: Williams, Kekana, Coetzee, Lebusa, Boutouil (B. Onyango 84’), Mbule (Maseko 54’), Mokoena, Allende, Zwane (Nku 68’ [Mashego 84’]), Shalulile, Ribeiro (Zungu 68’)

CHIEFS: Petersen, Frosler, Msimango, Ditlhokwe, Hlanti (Edmilson 46’), Maart, Matlou (Mdantsane 81’), Castillo (Shabalala 81’), Mmodi (Saile 58’), Potsane (Gonzalez 58’), Du Preez