Mamelodi Sundowns have stretched their lead at the top of the DStv Premiership to six points following a thumping 3-0 win away to Royal AM at the Chatsworth Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Brazilians racked up a sixth straight league victory thanks to goals from Neo Maema, Cassius Mailula and Surprise Ralani, taking them six points clear of nearest chasers Richards Bay.
As for Thwihli Thwahla, this is a fourth defeat from their last five league outings and leaves them in eighth place on the log, a full 12 points off the pace set by Sundowns.
Sundowns enjoyed most of the possession early in the match, but it was Royal who looked more dangerous in attack, using the pace and guile of Shaune Mogaila and Elias Pelembe respectively to stretch the game and open space for Ruzaigh Gamildien and Lesvin Stoffels.
The hosts almost made their pressure pay on 27 minutes when Sundowns’ scrambling defence at a free kick failed to clear their lines and Stoffels was able to get a shot on target, but his effort was cleared off the line by Mothobi Mvala.
Stoffels had another chance on 32 minutes when a deflected shot from midfield fell kindly for him in the penalty area, but he rushed his effort and struck wide of the target.
Thwihli Thwahla were punished for not taking their chances when the Brazilians claimed the lead in the final minute of regulation time in the first half.
Mailula showed great composure in the box to draw a couple of defenders before feeding Neo Maema, who himself was cool and confident in sweeping home a left-footed shot to see the visitors leading 1-0 at the break.
The second half saw Sundowns exhibit much more control of the game, using their passing to starve Royal of possession and frustrate the hosts’ hopes of making a comeback.
On the few occasions that Royal managed to put together a notable attack, they were often rushed and lacked precision in the key moments, such as when substitute Mfundo Thikazi picked out Gamildien with a good cross on 67 minutes, but the latter was unable to bring the ball under control.
Sundowns were generally happy to sit on their lead, though they had moments in which adding to their advantage seemed likely, such as when Teboho Mokoena whipped a shot on target in the 81st minute, but saw his effort well held by goalkeeper Zakahle Ngcobo.
And the Tshwane team duly netted a second on 85 minutes to kill off Royal’s hopes. Mokoena did great work to win the ball in midfield, drive forward down the right and fire in a low cross – the ball was only parried by the ‘keeper, and Mailula was on hand to turn home from close range for 2-0.
‘Downs made it 3-0 in the 89th minute when substitute Gaston Sirino set up another replacement, Surprise Ralani, to slide in ahead of a defender and poke the ball into the net to wrap up the scoring and seal a fine three points for the champions.
Sundowns will be back in action on Saturday 12 November when they face AmaZulu in the revamped Carling Black Label Cup, while Royal will have to wait until 30 December for their next league clash, away to Cape Town City.
Royal AM 0
Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 3 (Maema 45’, Mailula 85’, Ralani 89’)
Royal: Ngcobo, Rikhotso (Manganyi 77’), Lingwati, Nascimento, Matlaba, Mogaila, Phalane (Thikazi 55’), Kobedi, Pelembe, Gamildien (Mahcupu 77’), Stoffels (Ncobeni 77’)
Sundowns: Williams, Morena, Mvala, Kekana, Lebusa (Mudau 46’), Mokoena, Maema (Ralani 73’), Mkhulise, Domingo (Zwane 60’), Allende (Maboe 73’), Mailula (Sirino 88’)
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