Mamelodi Sundowns surged to the top of the DStv Premiership table after Peter Shalulile’s late winner sealed victory over Chippa United on Wednesday evening.
Sundowns recalled Themba Zwane, Aubrey Modiba, Khuliso Mudau and gave a first start to Mothobi Mvala in place of the injured Brian Onyango while Erwin Saavedra was on the bench.
The Brazilians had good movements going forward in the early exchanges and they almost went ahead from a set-piece after Modiba’s dipping strike was parried over the top corner by goalkeeper Lloyd Kazapua.
The visitors had a clear opening on 14 minutes after Teboho Mokoena went through on goal from a decisive pass by Marcelo Allende but his cut-back was blocked by Kazapua with his trailing leg.
However, the Brazilians’ quick start slowed down midway through the first stanza, as Chippa closed down their passing channels and looked to break on counter-attacks.
Sundowns continued to pin back Daine Klate’s charges in their own half and Allende came close to breaking the deadlock on the stroke of halftime with a free header in the box that missed the gaping net with Kazapua out of his area.
Masandawana remained on the front foot early in the second stanza and Mvala had a good chance ten minutes in after knocked down header by Peter Shalulile in the box but he missed the flight of the ball in an attempted volley.
Sundowns made a double change 20 minutes before time as Saavedra made his first appearance of the season in place of Allende and Cassius Mailula got his debut in place of Neo Maema, both for fresh legs in attack.
With the game on the edge, Chippa had their best chance in the last ten minutes from a quick break attack after Thabiso Lebitso went through in goal, in a two versus two situation but he opted for a shot just wide of the near post.
The Brazilians were fighting hard going forward and Modiba came very close to breaking the deadlock five minutes later with a dipping free-kick on the edge of the box that produced a last-ditch save from Kazapua.
However, Shalulile eventually snatched the winner for Masandawana in stoppage time with a close-range finish in the box after a flick on by Mvala from a corner.
The Brazilians finished the game with ten men after Modiba was given a second yellow card in the latter stages, although the visitors were able to see out the rest of the clash.