Mamelodi Sundowns regained top spot in the DStv Premiership with a 1-0 win over Marumo Gallants FC on Wednesday evening.
Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams made a welcome return for the host, who were without Peter Shalulile and afforded Sphelele Mkhulise, Themba Zwane, Marcelo Allende and Gaston Sirino another start.
Allende nearly gave the Brazilians the ideal start on five minutes when he worked space in the area and got a shot away which goalkeeper Washington Arubi needed to parry.
Sundowns pushed forward again eight minutes later and found Themba Zwane escape one challenge around the area before he fired the resulting shot across the face of goal.
The Brazilians continued their dominant start and were ahead minutes to the half-hour mark when Mkhulise pounced on Teboho Mokoena’s delivery and applied a smart finish past Arubi.
Gallants struggled with the wave and wave of attacks from the Brazilians, who were keen to extend their slender advantage ahead of the interval.
Dan Malesela’s men enjoyed a lot of the ball earlier on in the second half and spaces to penetrate in the final third too, but still couldn’t get around the Sundowns defence.
Sundowns on the other hand nearly made it two when Mokoena got on the end of Khuliso Mudau’s clever ball but found the side-netting from an awkward angle.
With chances few and far between on either end, Sundowns looked to consolidate their advantage ahead of the closing stages and introduced Bongani Zungu for Mothobi Mvala.
Gallants pushed forward late on and levelled when Cheick Soumahoro headed in a free-kick at the far post, but it was ruled out for offside sparking protestations from the visitors’ technical bench.
However, the Brazilians managed the closing exchanges well and picked up the win and returned to the top of the table.
Mamelodi Sundowns: Williams, Mudau, Lebusa, De Reuck, Kekana, Mvala, Mokoena, Mkhulise, Zwane, Sirino, Allende.
Subs: D.Onyango, Morena, Mailula, Jali, Maboe, Domingo, Motupa, Ralani, Zungu
Marumo Gallants: Arubi, Khiba, Nkili, Nonyane, Mabotja, Mohomi, Mdlinzo, Ngema, Otladisa, Maraisane, Nel.
Subs: Watenga, Kgoetyane, Gumede, Nku, Kumalo, Mphambaniso, Soumaro, Koapeng, Toure.
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