Shalulile Leads Sundowns to Last 16 with Brace
The Natal Rich Boyz made it a difficult evening for the hosts at times due to goals from Nkanyiso Zungu and Katleho Makateng. The Brazilians, the current champions of South Africa’s equivalent of the FA Cup, significantly outplayed their opponent despite the close final score.
Sundowns seized control of the match as early as the 11th minute when Peter Shalulile broke through the defense on the edge of the box and chipped the ball over goalkeeper Salim Magoola to make it 1-0.
Six minutes later, Sipho Mbule’s spectacular effort from a direct free kick by the Tshwane team came just inches short of doubling their advantage. The ball rebounded off the crossbar.
A mild penalty allowed Bay to re-enter the contest. Although it must be emphasized that the attacker appeared to be going to the ground before any contact between the players, Sakile Hlongwa broke through the defense and drew a foul from the charging Denis Onyango inside the 18-yard box.
In the 30th minute, Nkanyiso Zungu successfully converted the penalty shot from the spot by striking the underside of the crossbar.
Following the equalizer, the Brazilians took control of the game and produced a number of threatening situations, but Bay’s defense, particularly Magoola, who made an outstanding save to stop Shalulile from close range, did enough to ensure the halftime score remained at 1-1.
Just one minute into the second half, Sundowns took back the lead thanks to a header from Mosa Lebusa that eluded Magoola after connecting with a corner kick from Mbule.
Shalulile received a pass from Lesedi Kapinga, moved to his right foot, and hit a low effort from the edge of the box that beat Magoola’s right hand to make it 3-1 for the Brazilians on the hour mark.
On the 75th minute, Bay defender Khetha Shabalala made a fantastic save to keep Downs from scoring a fourth goal when replacement Thabiso Kutumela sent a shot past Magoola.
With just over 10 minutes of regulation time remaining, Sundowns, who had been in complete control of the match, provided a touching moment when Rivaldo Coetzee entered the game as a substitute, ending a near 12-month absence due to injury.
Makateng’s long-range goal for Bay in the 90th minute, which was scored more as a result of Onyango’s slip than any particularly strong or accurate drive, gave the game a tense conclusion.
Sundowns will next compete in the CAF Champions League group stage on February 11 when they visit Al Hilal, and Richards Bay will resume their DStv Premiership campaign on February 18 when they travel to Sekhukhune United.