Peter Shalulile (Gallo Images)
Mamelodi Sundowns continued their impressive winning run with a 2-1 victory over TS Galaxy at the Mbombela Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Sundowns claimed their 13th consecutive win of the season after head coach Rhulani Mokwena made eight changes to their lineup against Galaxy – one of only two sides to have beaten them in the league this season.
Sundowns showed their intent as early as four minutes into the match, with Peter Shalulile latching onto a through ball but firing his shot straight at Melusi Buthelezi, who was in goal for TS Galaxy.
Just a few minutes later, Gaston Sirino fired a dangerous curling shot from outside the box, with the shot just slightly off-target.
Sundowns found their opener after 10 minutes. Sirino put a threatening ball into the box from a corner, finding the head of Rushine de Reuck, who managed to climb above the TS Galaxy defenders to find the net.
De Reuck picked up a head injury in the aftermath of his goal and had to be stretchered off the field. He was replaced by fellow defender Brian Onyango.
In a first half dominated by the Brazilians, Galaxy had a lot of the ball but struggled to play out of their own half at times.
Sundowns came close to finding their second goal of the night when Themba Zwane put Sirino through on goal, but he rushed his shot and failed to find the net.
While Sundowns led the match, Galaxy ended the half showing their strength in possession but failed to break down the defensively solid away side.
Galaxy created their best chance of the match in the final minute of the first half. The home side nearly netted a stunning equaliser when Lefa Hlongwane narrowly missed with a backheeled shot from a few metres out.
Sundowns had their first chance of the second half when Thapelo Morena found Sirino with a low cross into the centre of the box, but he failed to find the net once again, firing his shot straight over the bar.
The Rockets continued the second half as they ended the first – showing their quality in possession, but failing to make any significant impact on the away side.
Sundowns scored their second goal of the night after the 65th minute when Themba Zwane and Sipho Mbule played a few sublime one-touch passes between each other before finding Sirino in the box, who put a simple pass across goal for Shalulile to finish.
Sirino had his last involvement of the match in the 70th minute when he found himself with another chance to score a goal on the night, but once again missed the opportunity as Morena put a teasing ball into the box, with Sirino failing to get his shot away.
The match had late drama as ‘Downs goalkeeper Dennis Onyango conceded a 94th-minute penalty to Orebotse Mongae and TS Galaxy. Djakaridja Traoré scored the penalty to pull one back for the hosts, but it was too late, as the game was already decided.
In the end, the away side showed their quality on the night with a comfortable result after the Rockets failed to massively trouble the Sundowns defence for the majority of the match.
This victory leaves the Brazilians 19 points ahead of second-placed Richards Bay FC, with TS Galaxy remaining 12th on the log.