Mamelodi Sundowns got their DStv Premiership title defence to a winning start with a tight 1-0 victory over AmaZulu at Loftus Versfeld on Friday evening.
The much-anticipated DStv Premiership opener between last season’s top two teams saw AmaZulu get off to a good start, but it was the defending champions who had the first opening as Haashim Domingo got onto a loose ball on the edge of the box, but his shot flew narrowly wide.
Sundows began to find their feet and impose themselves on the game as Ushutu struggled to break through the high press of the Brazilians.
In what was proving to be a tight game Themba Zwane was handed the opportunity to open the scoring, but he struggled to bring the ball under control as the chance went a begging.
The breakthrough eventually came moments before the break when Thembela Sikhakhane brought down Peter Shalulile in the box and Zwane stepped up and made no mistake from the spot.
1-0 to Downs at the half-time break.
After a tight start to the second half Benni McCarthy’s men looked to up the tempo but were unable to find the killer pass and were almost punished on the counter-attack in the 62nd minute after Shalulile went through on the left side of the box but his low strike missed the bottom corner by a whisker.
McCarthy looked to change the game from the bench as he brought on on Tshepang Moremi and Lehlohonolo Majoro for Keagan Buchanan and Ntuli while three minutes later, while Sundowns brought on Gaston Sirino in place of Aubrey Modiba in attack.
Substitute Majoro had a massive chance to find the leveller in the 67th minute as a loose ball bounced in the box after a Mosa Lebusa slip and a scramble in the box ensued but as Majoro let fly on goal but Rushine De Reuck pulled off a brilliant block on the line.
Shalulile had a wonderful chance to seal the deal for the Brazilians in the last quarter of an hour after receiving a square pass from Thapelo Morena unmarked inside the box but he dragged his shot wide.
Ushutu tried as they might to get back into the game but Downs held on to their lead to secure the three points on the opening day of the season.
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