Mamelodi Sundowns came from behind at the Thohoyandou Stadium to secure a 2-1 victory over Black Leopards in the DStv Premiership on Wednesday.
The Brazilians made two changes to their side that drew with Swallow FC as Peter Shalulile returned to the starting lineup in place of Gaston Sirino and Thapelo Morena was replaced by youngster Siphesihle Mkhize, who made his first start.
The Brazilians made their attacking presence felt in the opening minutes of the game, as Peter Shalulile had the first chance after two minutes when he latched on to a lobbed ball from Kermit Erasmus before firing his effort narrowly over the bar.
Shalulile should have found the back of the net in the 17th minute but fell narrowly short as his header crashed off the upright.
Sundowns continued to press forward after 37th minutes of play as Erasmus tried to catch King Ndlovu out with a long-range shot, but saw his effort saved by the Leopards shotstopper.
Denis Onyango was called into action in the 39th minute when he made a great save to keep out Wiseman Maluleke’s low strike from outside the box, before making another save two minutes later to keep the scoreline level as the game went into the half-time break.
Leopards got the second half off to a great start as they took the lead a minute in when Ovidy Karuru turned home a cross from Sibusiso Khumalo to make it 1-0.
The visitors had a chance to level matters three minutes later after Erasmus set up Shalulile with a clever back heel, which Shalulile guided just over the crossbar.
Sundowns then made their first substitution in the 54th minute to opt for a more attacking presence as Sirino came on to replace Siphesihle Mkhize.
Leopards were dealt a blow in the 56th minute when Lifa Hlongwane was stretchered off the field and taken to a nearby hospital after a clash of heads with Sibongiseni Mthethwa.
Sundowns eventually levelled matters in the 63rd minute when Shalulile found the back of the net with an acrobatic finish in the box.
The visitors were then reduced to 10 men a minute later as Mothobi Mvala was shown his marching orders for a foul on Rodney Ramagalela, who would’ve been through on goal.
Ndlovu kept his side in the game in the 70th minute when he produced a great save to keep out Sirino’s header at the far post.
The Brazilians opted to bring on Andile Jali in place of Erasmus for their second change of the match two minutes later.
Sundowns continued to put pressure on Leopards after 78 minutes as Shalulile played Themba Zwane through on goal, but Ndlovu responded well to rush off his line to smother the shot.
The Tshwane giants then made two more substitutions in the 84th minute, with George Maluleka and Zwane making way for Sphelele Mkhulise and Lesedi Kapinga, respectively.
Sundowns then took the lead for the first time in stoppage time through Shalulile, who pounced on a deflected Kapinga shot to calmly tuck the ball away.
The Brazilians managed to hold on to their lead until the final minute to walk away with maximum points to maintain their place at the summit of the DStv Premiership table.
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