Sundowns brush aside Royal AM to edge closer to another PSL record

Brazilians have 69 points with three matches remaining

15 May 2024 - 10:23
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Royal AM midfielder Kabelo Mahlasela is challenged by Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Lesiba Nku during their DStv Premiership match at Harry Gwala Stadium.
Image: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix Royal AM midfielder Kabelo Mahlasela is challenged by Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Lesiba Nku during their DStv Premiership match at Harry Gwala Stadium.

The swaggering Mamelodi Sundowns juggernaut brushed aside struggling Royal AM as they moved closer to an unprecedented record for most points in a Premier Soccer League (PSL) season. 

With this 2-0 DStv Premiership win at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday night, the Brazilians have moved to 69 points on the log with three matches remaining in their championship-winning season. 

They need one point to equal their points tally of last season (70) and three more to break their record of 71 they set during the 2015/2016 campaign under former coach Pitso Mosimane. 

It is also worth mentioning that Sundowns remain on course to achieve the remarkable feat of going the entire season without defeat if they go on and win their remaining league matches against Stellenbosch, TS Galaxy and Cape Town City. 

Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena made three changes to the team that beat selfsame Royal AM 1-0 at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday, with Zuko Mdunyelwa, Bathusi Aubaas and Lesiba Nku replacing Khuliso Mudau, Rivaldo Coetzee and Thembinkosi Lorch. 

Denis Onyango, Mothobi Mvala, Aubrey Modiba, Sphelele Mkhulise, Sipho Mbule, Neo Maema, Tashreeq Matthews, Peter Shalulile kept their places in the starting line-up as they looked to complete a double over this struggling Royal AM. 

For the hosts and their coach John Maduka, he went with his tried and tested team that included veteran goalkeeper Patrick Nyame, Thabo Matlaba, Kabelo Mahlasela and Mfundo Thikazi but they could not stop this well-oiled Sundowns machine. 

The defeat has left Royal AM third from the bottom and faced with a mountain to climb to avoid the dreaded promotional play-offs, where they could be relegated to the National First Division (NFD) in their remaining two matches.

Sundowns were the team that settled first in the game and created most of the chances with the likes of Mbule, Matthews, Maema, Shalulile and Mkhulise on the forefront of their attacks. 

The Brazilians came close to opening the scoring in the 35th minute when Maema’s curling shot deflected off the body of Ayanda Jiyane to the upright with goalkeeper Hugo Nyame beaten. 

Sundowns got it right five minutes later when Shalulile produced a spectacular volley to kiss the back of the net after Nyame parried the ball onto his path while trying to clear a close-range header from Nku. 

Sundowns continued to dominate Royal AM and Nku registered his name on the scoresheet after 73 minutes with a thunderous shot to beat Nyame and put the match beyond doubt. 

Sundowns missed a chance to finish with a flourish when Marcelo Allende ballooned the ball from the penalty spot after referee Akhona Makhalima pointed to the spot when Jiyane handled inside the box.