Sundowns cruise past Celtic in Bloemfontein to set a historic record
Champions Mamelodi Sundowns have set the record as the first team in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) era to go the entire season without an away defeat after the 2-0 win over Bloemfontein Celtic at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium on Wednesday.
The two goals for Sundowns were scored by on-form attacker Peter Shalulile in either half as he took his tally to 13 goals in this season where he has been one of the standout players in the league.
For Celtic, they have avoided automatic relegation and the dreaded promotion and relegation National First Division (NFD) play-offs but they have missed out on qualification for the top eight.
Sundowns completes what has been a dominant campaign against Cape Town City at home while Celtic will be looking to end what has been a tumultuous season with a win when they visit already-relegated Black Leopards.
With this victory, Sundowns have also continued their dominance over their hosts as the last time Celtic beat them in Bloemfontein in the league was in February 2006 and that run stretches to 15 games (11 losses and four draws).
When Celtic beat Sundowns for the last time in Bloemfontein 15 years ago, coach John Maduka was in that victorious team.
In his starting line-up, Maduka went with the tried and tested team that boasted the likes of Ndumiso Mabena, Mzwanele Mahashe, Harris Tchilimbou, Sifiso Ngobeni and Tebogo Potsane.
On the other hand, the Sundowns coaching trio of Manqoba Mngqithi, Steve Komphela and Rulani Mokwena rang some changes with Haashim Domingo, Mothobi Mvala, Gift Motupa and Khuliso Mudau in the starting line-up.
Sundowns opened the scoring after 11 minutes through the close-range header of Shalulile who registered his 12th goal of the season after he rose the highest in the box to connect with the dipping ball.
For the opening goal, attacker Lyle Lakay found unmarked Domingo on the edge of the box and the Sundowns attacker unleashed a powerful shot that rounded off the crossbar and into the path of Shalulile who found the target.
Sundowns put the match beyond doubt after 65 minutes when Shalulile’s header gave Celtic goalkeeper Mondli Mpoto no chance after he connected with a cross from Lakay for his 13th of the season.