Peter Shalulile of Mamelodi Sundowns. Picture: SYDNEY MAHLANGU/BACKPAGEPIX
Peter Shalulile of Mamelodi Sundowns. Picture: SYDNEY MAHLANGU/BACKPAGEPIX

Tension on the Mamelodi Sundowns bench dominated the build-up to their showdown with Kaizer Chiefs, but the Pretoria side shrugged off the controversy to put their rivals to the sword in a comfortable 2-0 win at Loftus on Sunday.

Goals in either half from Grant Kekana and Peter Shalulile gave the champions a hard-earned win that will have signalled their intention to hold onto their crown.

Sundowns got going early on when Kekana rose majestically to beat Chiefs goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma with a fine header at the back post in the seventh minute.

The goal came against the run of play as Chiefs had put Sundowns under the cosh.

But after Themba Zwane won Sundowns a free kick following  a tackle by Phathutshedzo Nange in the sixth minute, the home side made sure it counted when Lyle Lakay delivered an inch-perfect cross for Kekana to sneak above his markers and beat a bemused Bvuma.

The champions were not done and returned to haunt Bvuma when the irrepressible Shalulile beat the goalkeeper with a simple tap-in after a great delivery from substitute Neo Maema in the 62nd minute.

Chiefs could have pulled one back from the spot after Rivaldo Coetzee blatantly handled the ball in the area in the 79th minute.

Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter looked on from the sidelines and thought his charges would finally find a way back into the match, but penalty taker Lebogang Manyama sent his shot crashing against the crossbar with goalkeeper Denis Onyango well beaten.

It was a costly miss that summed up the afternoon for Chiefs as they created several opportunities, but Onyango either stopped them in their tracks or the visitors somehow managed to miss when it seemed getting the ball into the back of the net was the simpler option.

“Top performance. In fact, I have to single out Denis Onyango,” said Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena.

Chiefs return to league action on Saturday when they host Royal AM, who won their first match of the season when they beat Chippa United 1-0 earlier on Sunday. Sundowns welcome TS Galaxy to Loftus in their next league outing on Sunday.​

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