Johannesburg (AFP) – Chilean Marcelo Allende, a former teenage trialist at Premier League club Arsenal, scored on his debut for Mamelodi Sundowns in a 3-0 South African Premiership win over Stellenbosch on Wednesday.
Allende joined the record 12-time champions from Montevideo City Torque and although salary details have not been disclosed, he is reportedly the highest earner in the league.
The 23-year-old midfielder came off the bench on 68 minutes in Pretoria and netted eight minutes later, beating goalkeeper Sage Stephens from inside the box.
He has signed a five-year deal and joins two other South Americans — Uruguayan Gaston Sirino and Bolivian Erwin Saavedra — at Sundowns.
Sirino was stretchered off midway through the opening half with a torn hamstring amid fears he could be absent for some time.
“It was great to see Marcelo scoring in his debut and he is adapting quickly to our style of play,” said Sundowns co-coach Rhulani Mokwena.
“There was a lot of energy and aggression in our performance tonight, although we are far from where we want to be.”
Stellenbosch, who inflicted the only home loss suffered by Sundowns last season, were behind after only 90 seconds when Neo Maema punished sloppy defending.
Namibian Peter Shalulile took his Premiership tally to four goals from five matches with the second just before half-time.
Expensively assembled Sundowns, who are owned by Confederation of African Football president Patrice Motsepe, lie second as they chase a record extending sixth straight title.
A couple of hours after dominating previously unbeaten Stellenbosch, they were overtaken by Orlando Pirates, who edged Marumo Gallants 1-0 thanks to a third-minute Paseko Mako goal.
Pirates have 11 points, Sundowns, AmaZulu and Royal AM 10 each and TS Galaxy nine after most clubs have played five matches.
“We have had a lot of matches in a short time and were fortunate winners. The team spent too much time defending,” admitted Pirates’ Spanish coach Jose Riveiro.
Galaxy are the only unbeaten team and the only one not to concede after a 0-0 draw away to Chippa United in Gqeberha.
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