A dull DStv Premiership encounter between Mamelodi Sundowns and AmaZulu at least ended in grand style on Sunday, as substitute Marcelo Allende scored in stoppage time to make sure the defending champions won 1-0 and extended their lead at the top of the table.
Probably the biggest attraction before that was the club’s farewell to long-serving captain Hlompho Kekana, who came out at half-time to greet fans and received a trophy from Sundowns chairman Thlopie Motsepe.
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The opening stanza saw few chances, with the biggest opportunity falling to Themba Zwane. ‘Mshishi’, as he is affectionately known, dazzled his markers and played combination passes with Peter Shalulile, finding himself face-to-face with goalkeeper Veli Mothwa.
He did well to beat the Bafana Bafana goalkeeper, who he will join in Hugo Broos’ camp this week, but was unlucky as he rattled the cross-bar.
About 15 minutes later, Usuthu had a chance of their own but they were denied by Bafana’s number one goalkeeper, Ronwen Williams, who continued to show why he plays ahead of veteran goalkeeper Denis Onyango. Williams made a fine double save to keep out efforts from Gabadinho Mhango and the follow-up attempt from Makhehleni Makhaula.
In the 67th minute, you could have confused striker Shalulile for a centre back as he uncharacteristically missed a sitter. Marcelo Allende swung in a beautiful cross to find Shalulile unmarked, but the Namibian’s shot was more like a clearance of the ball.
Sundowns coaches handed new signing Terrence Mashego a debut when they brought him on as a 75th substitute for Sifiso Ngobeni.
AmaZulu defenders fluffed their lines towards the end of the game, with goalkeeper Mothwa being the main culprit. Mothwa played a tricky pass to his defender and Sandile Khumalo could not handle the ball, giving the ever-green Shalulile a chance to intercept.
Shalulile played the ball to Khuliso Mudau, and Mothwa got a touch of the ball before Mudau passed into the back of the net. However, he was flagged offside.