Royal AM recorded maximum points in a 2-1 win over Sekhukhune United in the DStv Premiership on Saturday night, as Dan Malesela’s side put on a show at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.
Babina Noko got off to a positive start and immediately took control of the ball in the first five minutes of the game.
However, Royal AM capitalised on a mistake made by Sekhukhune United in the 8th minute, as Mfundo Thikazi latched onto a misguided pass inside the penalty area and managed to slot the ball away with ease.
As the dust settled, Sekhukhune looked to apply pressure on the Royal AM backline but the travelling side remained solid at the back with around 15 minutes on the clock.
As the 25th minute arrived, Sekhukhune worked hard in the middle of the park and edged Royal AM in the possession statistics. After drawing first blood, it appeared that Thwihli Thwahla were content at soaking up the pressure and hitting the home side on the break.
Royal AM slowly got into the game after the half-hour mark and at times, outplayed Sekhukhune with swift passing moves. Royal AM went into the break on a high, with Thikazi’s effort being the difference in the tie at halftime.
Royal AM got their second of the match 10 minutes after the break, as Thikazi doubled his tally with a rifling shot on the edge of the Sekhukhune United penalty area.
With a spring in their step, Dan Malesela’s side played the game with confidence after the goal, creating incisive passing triangles all around the pitch.
Babina Noko struggled to get into the game and in an attempt to switch things up, coach Kaitano Tembo introduced Siyabulela Shai and Thamsanqa Masiysa from the bench in the 65th minute. However, the home side could not find openings in the Royal AM back line.
With 15 minutes left on the club, Tembo continued to shuffle his pack and introduced Pogiso Mahlangu for the outgoing Tashreeq Morris. The changes appeared to have injected attacking impetus into the side as Sekhukhune began playing the game on the front foot.
Royal AM kicked into game managed mode as Malesela made wholesale changes in the 84th minute. In a triple substitution, Bandile Dlamani, Mxolisi Machupu and Kabelo Mahlasela came on for Shadrack Kobedi, Sera Motebang and Thikazi respectively.
Babina Noko pulled one back in the 88th minute, as Shai pounced in the Royal AM area with less than two minutes left in regulation time. Soon after the goal, second-half substitute Pogiso Mahlangu received his marching orders in the 91st minute, as the hosts went down to 10 men.
As the ref called time on the match, Royal AM came away with maximum points at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in an impressive performance against Sekhukhune United.
Sekhukhune United: (0) 1 (Shai 88’)
Royal AM: (1) 2 (Thikazi 8’ 65’)
Sekhukhune United:Mtsweni, Mobbie, Kabwe, Cardoso, Motsepe, Seabi (Shai 65’), Mncube (Masiya 65’), Mntambo, Morris (Mahlangu 75’), Letsoalo (Mabasa 58’), Mosiathlaga (Mokwana 58’)
Royal AM:Nyame, Mogaila, Matjila (Mabuza 74’), Phalane, Manganyi, Kobedi, Rikhotso, Thikazi, Cele, Sera, Gamildien (Stoffels 62’)
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