A first-half penalty from Lucas Ribeiro was enough for Masandawana to beat AmaZulu in a hard-fought affair where the host did their best to avoid defeat.
The Referee blows the final whistle and Masandawana make it 🔟 consecutive wins in the DStv Premiership! 👆
— Mamelodi Sundowns FC (@Masandawana) December 6, 2023
AmaZulu vs Mamelodi Sundowns: How it happened
Goalkeeper Olwethu Mzimela made his league debut, while Taariq Fielies and Thembela Sikhakhane returned to the lineup for Usuthu.
On the other hand, Rhulani Mokwena made three changes from the starting XI that lost away at TP Mazembe in the CAF Champions League with Abdelmounaim Boutouil, Grant Kekana, and Sphelele Mkhulise starting.
The action started slowly from both sides as AmaZulu sat deep in their half while Sundowns dictated play.
It was until the 12th minute before the Brazilians threatened. Marcelo Allende found a pocket of space on the edge of the box and shot but his effort was deflected out for a corner!
With the visitors looking likely to open the scoring, Usuthu defender dragged Themba Zwane down in the box and a penalty was awarded for Masandawana.
Lucas Ribeiro dispatched the spotkick to record his seventh league goal of the season and a first-half lead for Sundowns in the 22nd minute.
Goal! 🇿🇦 AmaZulu FC 0-1 Mamelodi Sundowns, Lucas Ribeiropic.twitter.com/XiSvVS06LG
— FootColic ⚽️ (@FootColic) December 6, 2023
AmaZulu had a series of decent openings to level up the scores after consecutive mistakes from the visitors, however, they weren't able to make the most of the opportunities as both sides headed to the break with a 1-0 lead for Sundowns.
A tough second half
AmaZulu continued to push for the equaliser after the restart, and looked to have drawn level in the 63rd minute after Hendrick Ekstein scored from a good team play. However, the assistant referee raised his flag and the goal was wrongly ruled out.
Usuthu continued to threaten Sundowns who had lost control of the game for some period of time.
Mokwena went to the bench and brought on Thapelo Morena and Lesiba Nku to try and inject more energy into the team as they searched for the second goal to bury the game.
Both sides gave it their all to score goals in a fiercely contested second half, but it was Sundowns who edged out a 1-0 win over the home side as the first-half goal from Ribeiro separated both teams.
Sundowns had 6 shots on target from 12 shots, while AmaZulu had 2 shots on target from 9 attempts.
With the loss, AmaZulu recorded their third straight defeat in regulation time while Mamelodi Sundowns strung their ninth league win of the season to steer five points clear of second-place Cape Town City.
Interestingly, Masandawana still has three outstanding games.
AmaZulu vs Mamelodi Sundowns confirmed lineups
AmaZulu: Mzimela (GK); Jooste, Hanamub, Fielies, Mobara; Gumede, Sikhakhane, Brooks; Dion, Moremi, Ekstein.
Subs: Mbanjwa, Zulu, Ngema, Hlangabeza, Mphahlele, Human, Ndlovu, Letsoalo.
Sundowns: Williams (GK); Mudau, Boutouil, Kekana, Lebusa; Mokoena, Mkhulise, Allende; Zwane, Ribeiro, Shalulile.
Subs: D. Onyango, Mashego, Maboe, Nkosi, Morena, Nasir, Maseko, Nku, Sirino.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 months ago