A late goal from Marcelo Allende handed Mamelodi Sundowns a 1-0 win over AmaZulu in DStv Premiership action on Sunday afternoon.
Sundowns featured new signings Terrence Mashego and Bongani Zungu on the bench and handed Sifiso Ngobeni another start alongside recalls for Grant Kekana and Teboho Mokoena.
The title holders saw a great chance go astray earlier on as Themba Zwane broke free in a three-on-three attack and after tossing and turning in the area – struck the underside of the crossbar.
Usuthu sprung to live before the half-hour mark and produced a double save off goalkeeper Ronwen Williams through two flying shots from close-range by Gabadinho Mhango and Sandile Khumalo.
However, it became a tight contest soon thereafter as challenges across all areas from the respective outfits came through and this led to limited scoring chances in the process.
Sundowns looked to force the breakthrough from a snap shot on a tight angle by Erwin Saavedra, but he dragged Sipho Mbule’s through pass wide of the mark as the half concluded.
The Brazilians continued their dominant spell following the break where runs from Zwane, Saavedra, Ngobeni and Mbule forced Usuthu in their defensive third.
Masandawana remained on the front-foot 55 minutes in where Mokoena snapped a one-two move and was withdrawn for Marcelo Allende thereafter as Thapelo Morena and Neo Maema also entered.
AmaZulu battled hard for every ball in order to sustain the Brazilians later on, but were nearly behind when Peter Shalulile scooped a surging delivery from a corner-kick wide of the bottom-corner.
The Brazilians pushed relentlessly thereafter and stung the gloves of Veli Mothwa from a powerful shot on the edge of the area by Morena shortly before Mashego came on for his debut.
Sundowns were rewarded at the death when Allende fired in from a tight angle left of the area and steered the host to victory in the end.
Mamelodi Sundowns: Williams, Ngobeni, Mudau, Kekana, De Reuck, Jali, Mbule, Mokoena, Zwane, Saavedra, Shalulile
Subs: Pieterse, Morena, Mashego, Mailula, Allende, Mkhulise, Lebusa, Zungu, Meama
AmaZulu: Mothwa, Gumede, Hanamub, Zulu, Khumalo, Buchanan, Makhaula, Maluleka, Mukumela, Mhango, Zuma
Subs: Amonome, Mabiliso, Mgwazela, Mphahlele, Malepe, Brooks, Ceesay, Magaqa, Kunene
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