10-man Sundowns fight back to secure Leopards win

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Lebohang Maboe of Mamelodi Sundowns (Gallo)
Lebohang Maboe of Mamelodi Sundowns (Gallo)

Peter Shalulile scored deep into stoppage time as 10-man Mamelodi Sundowns snatched a 2-1 victory over Black Leopards in an entertaining DStv Premiership clash at the Thohoyandou Stadium on Wednesday.

Lidoda Duvha took the lead early in the second half through Ovidy Karuru but Shalulile equalised and then found the back of the net again late on for the defending champions who also had defender Mothobi Mvala sent off for a straight red card.

Masandawana started brightly and took control of proceedings early on as Shalulile and Hlompho Kekana spurned good chances in the opening 10 minutes.

In one of the home team's rare forages up front, Sibusiso Khumalo almost gave Leopards the lead when his cross-cum-shot went inches wide of Denis Onyango's goal.

Shalulile then went even closer for Sundowns as his header hit the post in the 17th minute after a good cross from Kermit Erasmus.

Leopards though were solid enough at the back and held the Tshwane club goalless going into the halftime interval.

The hosts then made a fast start after the break as Karuru did well to stretch and slide home the opening goal from a low Khumalo cross in the 46th minute.

The match was then held up for close to 8 minutes as Lifa Hlongwane suffered a serious head injury after a collision with teammate Sibongiseni Mthethwa as both players went for a high ball.

There was worrying signs as Hlongwane laid motionless as he was receiving treatment with the ambulance eventually arriving on the pitch and taking the player to hospital.

Sundowns found the equaliser in the 64th minute when Shalulile brilliantly volleyed past Leopards goalkeeper King Ndlovu after the forward's initial attempt was blocked.

Just two minutes after drawing level however Masandawana were dealt a blow as Mvala was given his marching orders by the referee after he committed a professional foul when Rodney Ramagalela was clean through on goal.

Leopards then missed a glorious opportunity to take the lead when Karuru headed over from point-blank range after he was found by a Roderick Kabwe cross.

Even though they were one man down, Sundowns kept on pressing for the winner as Themba Zwane and substitute Gaston Sirino were denied by Ndlovu.

Just as it looked as if the game would end in a stalemate, Shalulile popped up in the fifth minute of injury of time to score the winner and break Lidoda Duvha hearts.

The win breaks a three-game winless run for Sundowns as also moved them three points clear of SuperSport United at the top of the table.

The defeat sees Leopards remain second from bottom on the PSL standings.

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