This game on Saturday had to be abandoned midway through the opening half due to a waterlogged pitch. Since then, Sundowns were hit by a bout of flu that laid several players low. As is a trademark of a club that possesses three quality squads, Downs still put out a strong starting XI.
Sundowns got it all wrong in bizarre fashion in their second-last game, a shock 3-0 defeat to Stellenbosch FC at Loftus Versfeld. The Brazilians were in a menacing mood to stick to a cleverer, tighter gameplan against Royal and ensure they could lift the trophy on the back of a victory.
Downs absorbed Royal's pressure and ensured they lifted their tempo when they had a sniff going forward, especially in critical phases as they notched goals soon after the start of each half.
After an evenly-matched beginning to the game, the Tshwane giants conjured a goal almost out of nothing.
Sphelele Mkhulise's cross from deep on the right seemed speculative, but was an accurate delivery to the unmarked run at the far post of Sirino to place a volley past goalkeeper Patrick Nyame. The move looked like it had been practised many times on a training ground.
Royal lifted themselves to apply pressure. Downs' defensive structure, initially much-tightened from their off-day against Stellenbosch, held firm.