Shalulile strikes as Mamelodi Sundowns occupy familiar position


Johannesburg (AFP) – The top of the South African Premiership table had a familiar look on Sunday just four rounds into the season, with Mamelodi Sundowns two points ahead in pursuit of a record-extending fifth straight title.

Star Namibia forward Peter Shalulile, voted the best Premiership player last season, was among the goals as the Pretoria club trumped visiting TS Galaxy 3-0.

Galaxy contained the record 11-time Premiership champions for 56 minutes at the Loftus Versfeld stadium Sundowns share with the top South African rugby side, the Bulls.

The hosts then netted twice in two minutes through Mosa Lebusa and Shalulile before substitute Thabiso Kutumela completed the scoring six minutes from time behind closed doors because of the coronavirus. 

When the fourth round began on Saturday in the richest African league — the winners pocket 15 million rand ($1 mn/865,000 euros) — Sundowns held a two-point advantage.

Orlando Pirates, Stellenbosch and SuperSport United all won to take turns at topping the table on goal difference before Sundowns ultimately toyed with Galaxy to regain first place.

Sundowns have 10 points, SuperSport, Stellenbosch and Pirates eight each and newcomers Royal AM, thanks to a shock 4-1 win at Kaizer Chiefs, and Baroka six each.

Chiefs, who rehired English coach Stuart Baxter recently in the hope that he can end a run of six trophy-less seasons, lie 12th, already six points adrift of Sundowns.

– ‘Patience key factor’ –

Sundowns central midfielder Rivaldo Coetzee dedicated his man-of-the-match award to the starting line-up and substitutes, describing the victory as a “great team effort”.

“Patience was a key factor as Galaxy got a lot of players behind the ball every time we moved forward,” said the former South Africa international.

“It required a lot of clever movement to create the space that led to the goals. We defeated Galaxy home and away last season and it was nice to beat them again.

“I was also happy that we kept our fourth consecutive Premiership clean sheet this season. We conceded 14 goals in 30 league matches during the last campaign and our aim is to do even better this time.”  

New Orlando Pirates midfielder Goodman Mosele completed the scoring as the Soweto Buccaneers came from behind to defeat Chippa United 3-1 in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth). 

A shoulder charge on Cape Town City and Angola goalkeeper Hugo Marques by Judas Moseamedi saw the ball run loose and the Stellenbosch substitute took advantage to score the second goal in a 3-0 away victory.

Goals from Jamie Webber and Teboho Mokoena within two minutes set SuperSport up for a surprisingly easy 3-0 win at Swallows, a Soweto outfit who did not lose at home in the league last season.

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