Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Shalulile saves Sundowns in thrilling Galaxy draw

The Namibian striker grabs the equaliser with five minutes left at Mbombela Stadium.

Peter Shalulile came to the rescue of Mamelodi Sundowns on Tuesday, his late goal saving their unbeaten record in a 1-1 DStv Premiership draw with TS Galaxy at Mbombela Stadium.

Galaxy had started the day by taking Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena to the Johannesburg High Court, part of a long running spat between the Masandawana mentor and TS Galaxy head coach Sead Ramovic.

And they finished it by coming close to inflicting Sundowns’ first league defeat of the campaign, Puso Dithejane’s 78th minute strike sending Ramovic leaping into the crowd.

But Shalulile had the final say, as the Namibian has had so many times in a glittering career.

Sundowns are now just one game away, at home to Cape Town City on Saturday, from becoming the first ever South African top flight to finish a top flight season without defeat.

This game had a frenetic energy from the start, as if driven by the dislike Mokwena and Ramovic clearly have for each other.

It was the home side who threatened more in the early stages with some lovely interplay causing Sundowns all sorts of problems down their left side.

Kamogelo Sebelebele, Mpho Mvelase and Dithejane caused an overlad on the right wing, with Masandawana left back Aubrey Modiba constantly finding himself isolated.

In the 2nd minute, Mpho Mvelase fould Bradley Mojela, and his cross was gathered by the excellent Ronwen Williams.

Lesiba Nku did have a chance that he put well over the bar for Sundowns, before Dithejane and Marcos Allende were both booked after a nasty squabble, as tempers threatened to boil over.

Galaxy threatened again in the 23rd minute as Dhitjeane’s well-placed pass found Sphiwe Mahlangu racing in on goal, but Williams closed down the angle and blocked the shot.

A minute later, the home side did have the ball in the back of the net but Mvelase was correctly ruled offside after Williams had saved Dithejane’s initial shot.

Dithejane was a constant menace to Sundowns, but could also consider himself slightly fortunate not to receive a second yellow card after hauling down Sphelele Mkhulise.

Penalty shout

Sundowns finally had a shot on target when Fiacre Ntwari saved from Rivaldo Coetzee, while Mokwena was left screaming for a penalty when Tashreeq Matthews went down in the box under Mvelase’s challenge, but replays proved inconclusive.

Mokwena brought on Lebo Maboe and Mothobi Mvala at the break, a sign that he wasn’t entirely happy with what he was seeing.

Matthews almost immediately had a chance for Sundowns but he shot over from inside the penalty area.

But Galaxy continued to more than match their opponents and Sebelebele’s cross was steered over the bar, via a deflection, by Mvelase.

Sundowns were jittery, evident in the fact that Mvala and Williams both gave the ball away in quick succession, with Galaxy failing to capitalise.

And Galaxy did find the net in the 78th minute, Dithejane firing home brillianly from the edge of the box to put the Rockets into orbit.

Ntwari had to produce a good stop to deny Lebo Maboe just a minute later, as Sundowns scrambled to avoid losing their unbeaten record.

And they did exactly that in the 85th minute, Shalulile rising to head Aubrey Modiba’s cross past Ntwari.

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