South Africa: Downs Sneak Past Amazulu

7 December 2023

Mamelodi Sundowns continued with their Premier Soccer League winning streak after edging AmaZulu 1-0 at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Wednesday.

A 21st-minute penalty by Lucas Costa Ribeiro made the difference in this contest as the Brazilians furthered their record to 10 league wins out of 10 games from the start of the season.

It was some recovery from last weekend's CAF Champions League defeat by TP Mazembe for Masandaswana who extended their lead on the PSL table to five points with three games in hand.

Although Usuthu did everything to limit the damage from Sundowns, they remain 11th on the standings.

AmaZulu went into battle without suspended Nigerian forward Augustine Kwem while club captain and goalkeeper Veli Mothwa was out injured.

Coach Pablo Franco Martin then entrusted Olwethu Mzimela to guard goal as he made his season debut while Ramahlwe Mphahlele was surprisingly benched.

Their visitors welcomed back defenders Abdel Boutouil and Grant Kekana as well as forward Abubeker Nasir in what was a major boost in their rearguard.

After a slow start to the game, Sundowns' breakthrough came when Mbongiseni Gumede pulled down Themba Zwane from inside the box to concede a penalty for the hosts.

Ribeiro made no mistake and beat Mzimela for his seventh league goal of the season.

Franco Martin was then forced to make a substitution on 37 minutes when he pulled out an injured Thembela Sikhakhane for Celimpilo Ngema.

A lapse in defence almost gifted Usuthu an equaliser but Ethan Brooks's low drive drew an impressive saving dive from Ronwen Williams.

After the break, Mzimela did well to save Sphelele Mkhulise's shot as Sundowns survived.

Usuthu thought they had equalised in the 64th minute but Hendrick Ekstein was adjudged to have scored from an offside position.

With four minutes to go, Peter Shalulile almost connected a Lesiba Nku cross but some good defending from Taariq Fielies denied him as Sundowns clung to the narrow victory.

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