Mamelodi Sundowns dust off coaching fallout to beat Kaizer Chiefs in feisty Premiership clash

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Peter Shalulile (Gallo Images)
Peter Shalulile (Gallo Images)

Grant Kekana and Peter Shalulile scored as Mamelodi Sundowns claimed a convincing 2-0 DStv Premiership victory against rivals Kaizer Chiefs at Loftus Versfeld on Sunday.

AS IT HAPPENED: Mameolodi Sundowns 2-0 Kaizer Chiefs

Ahead of the much-anticipated encounter, reports surfaced that Sundowns' coaching trio – Rulani Mokwena, Manqoba Mngqithi and Steve Komphela – were at loggerheads, which resulted in a fallout between the three mentors.

On Thursday, Mokwena shockingly confirmed that there was a disagreement between the coaches to journalists.

It stole the headlines all over South Africa and, unsurprisingly, Sunday's game was touted as a chance for Chiefs to take advantage of Sundowns' backroom staff issues.

Unfortunately for Amakhosi it was not the case despite a spirited performance by Stuart Baxter's charges.

As early as the eighth minute, title-chasing Sundowns took the lead.

Chiefs defence doubled up on Themba Zwane and committed a foul on the 32-year-old close to the right corner flag.

Up stepped Lyle Lakay and the Cape Town-born winger whipped in a deep curling cross, with Grant Kekana connecting a header that squeezed past Bruce Bvuma.

Amakhosi applied a healthy amount of pressure on the home side after going behind.

Samir Nurkovic made goalkeeper Denis Onyango work as his headed effort was set to rattle the back of the net, only for the veteran shot-stopper to get a glove to the ball.

Zwane and Sfiso Hlanti clashed as the match intensity increased, while Andile Jali and Nurkovic also sparred in a duel for the ball.

Both players got a talking to from the referee, and minutes later, Nurkovic had a chance to score.

The Serbian-born continued to be a handful for the Downs defence and should have levelled matters after Keagan Dolly whipped in a timely cross in the box that Onyango mistimed.

The striker headed the ball wide with the net wide open for a scoring opportunity.

Sundowns and Chiefs headed towards the tunnel after the sound of the half-time whistle, and when returning, neither bench opted to make any changes.

Nurkovic continued to probe the Downs' defence and crashed with Rushine De Reuck in a 50-50 challenge for the ball. However, the referee waved the decision in Chiefs' favour for a free kick.

Nearly 45 yards out wide on the right, Khama Billiat delivered a cross that was flicked on, and an oncoming Hlanti connected the ball perfectly with his head.

However, Onyango made a superb one-handed save.

Mokwena then showed his hand and replaced Kermit Erasmus and Gaston Sirino, who both had a relatively quiet game. In came Neo Maema and Thabiso Kutumela for the outgoing pair.

Maema immediately repaid the faith shown with an assist.

Zwane was once again marked with two Chiefs players, and Maema latched onto the loose ball in the box and played in a low cross to Peter Shalulile, who timely ran past his marker to double Sundowns' lead.

The Brazilians did not let up as substitute Kutumela nearly added his name to the scoresheet, only for Bvuma to make a good save.

Baxter opted to give Lebogang Manyama minutes as he returned from a lengthy layoff due to injury.

Chiefs were then given a penalty after Cole Alexander's cross hit Rivaldo Coetzee's arm. Surprisingly, Manyama was then given the role to take a penalty after just six minutes on the field.

The former Cape Town City midfielder scuffed the chance to make it a nervy ending for the hosts as he rattled the upright as the Sundowns defence cleared the danger after the ricochet.

The victory takes Sundowns to the summit of the Premiership standings, with Amakhosi falling to tenth place after three matches.

Chiefs' next match be against Royal AM on Saturday (17:00), and the Brazilians take on TS Galaxy on Sunday (17:00).

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