Sundowns extend unbeaten streak to 52 matches with narrow win over Stellenbosch

Sundowns extend unbeaten streak to 52 matches with narrow win over Stellenbosch

DStv Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns fought to their 52nd unbeaten match in the league with a 1-0 win over Stellenbosch at the Danie Craven Stadium.

Both teams came out with an attacking approach from the start of the first-half, however there were few clear cut chances due to the constant pressing from both sides. 

In the 34rd-minute Stellies received a chance to take the lead after midfieler Bathusi Aubaas was adjudged to have held back striker Iqraam Rayners. 

However, the in-form forward missed his penalty with Bafana Bafana AFCON penalty hero Ronwen Williams pulling off an emphatic save to thwart Rayners from adding to his 11 goals this season. 

Sundowns persisted with trying to find the right passes to create clear goal scoring opportunities whilst Stellenbosch relied mostly on their quick transitions into counter attacks. 

In the 43rd-minute winger Lesiba Nku made space on the left wing to put in a pin point cross for Masandawana lead striker Peter Shalulile who only managed to put his free header over the crossbar. 

Devon Titus had the first chance of the second-half but failed to hit the target with his strike hitting the side netting.

Stellenbosch head coach Steve Barker decided to make the first substitutions of the match in the 65th-minute as Devin Titus and Andre De Jong made way for attack minded Anicet Oura and Nhlanhla Mgaga. 

However, less than a minute into their introduction, Sundowns put together six passes from a restart from goalkeeper Ronwen Williams before winger Thembinkosi Lorch put in an enticing cross for Lesiba Nku to bury past Sage Stephens. 

Lorch hobbles off in discomfort in the 71st-minute as Rhulani Mokwena rung the changes to refresh his team in order to maintain their lead.

Sundowns had already collected three yellow cards prior to the triple substitution, with Zuko Mdunyelwa picking up another caution in the 72nd-minute for pulling Nhlanhla Mgaga after he had dribbled past him. 

The home side kept trying to probe the Tshwane sides defence but were met with a resolute and disciplined backline.

Late substitute Siyabonga Mabena had a chance to seal the match for Masandawana but only managed to direct his shot onto the side netting in the 86th-minute. 

The visitors did not allow Stellenbosch to settle after that, narrowly coming close to another goal following some enterprising passes which led to former Stellies star Junior Mendieta's strike being narrowly deflected for a corner.

Sundowns managed to avoid any major threats towards the end of the match which ensured the carried on their quest to the first unbeaten league campaign in the PSL era. 

The home side will rue the missed penalty which would have assured them of CAF Champions League football next season with third-placed Orlando Pirates also surprisingly succumbing to a second successive 1-0 loss in the league against TS Galaxy. 

Masandawana will host Cape Town City for their final match of the season whilst Stellenbosch will travel to Play-Off threatened Richards Bay who lie in 15th-position on the table. 

All DStv Premiership matches will kick-off at 15h00 next Saturday. 

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