The Citizen (Gauteng)
Downs tighten their grip
GALAXY WIN: SURGE SEVEN POINTS CLEAR OF AMAZULU Fourth straight league title beckons as Masandawana shift focus to huge Al-Ahly showdown in Egypt.
Mamelodi Sundowns are striding off into the distance and towards another DStv Premiership title after beating TS Galaxy 1-0 yesterday afternoon at the Mbombela Stadium.
The Chloorkop-based outfit are now seven points clear of second-placed AmaZulu and need to win just two of their last four matches to guarantee a fourth straight title.
Peter Shalulile got the only goal of the match, wrapping up a Sundowns attack in the 17th minute, when he headed past goalkeeper Westen Van Der Linde for his 11th league goal of the season.
The Namibian striker’s return to fitness has helped Sundowns recover from a slight blip with three wins on the spin.
Shalulile is just two goals behind leading goalscorer Bradley Grobler in his bid to retain the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot, which he needed 16 goals to claim last season, along with Orlando Pirates’ Gabadinho Mhango.
Galaxy had an opportunity to level matters when referee Tshidiso Mkhwanazi pointed to the penalty spot, after Mosa Lebusa was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.
Veteran attacker Lindokuhle Mbatha stepped up and took a tame shot which Kennedy Mweene sprung up to palm his attempt away.
Mbatha did not return for the second stanza as he was withdrawn by Owen Da Gama, who brought on Masikhale Phongolo in his place, while Ebrahim Seedat was brought on for Wayde Lekay.
The defending champions, meanwhile, welcomed back talisman Gaston Sirino, who made his comeback from injury after he missed the last three games with a slight knock.
In the dying stages of game, Downs mentors Rhulani Mokwena and Manqoba Mngqithi withdrew a couple of their key players, including Andile Jali and Aubrey Modiba, supposedly saving their legs as they brought on defender Brain Onyango and Mothobi Mvala, who got himself booked immediately after coming on.
After doing their bit in the league, Downs now shift their focus to the Caf Champions League, as they head to Egypt in the coming days to take on Pitso Mosimane’s Al-Ahly in a first-leg quarterfinal on Saturday.