In a thrilling semifinal showdown at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on a Saturday afternoon, Mamelodi Sundowns secured their place in next month’s MTN8 final by defeating Kaizer Chiefs 2-1.
The match was a heavyweight battle that remained tense throughout and was ultimately decided by Peter Shalulile’s impressive performance, netting two crucial goals – one at the start and one at the end of the first half.
Sundowns got off to a dream start, with Peter Shalulile capitalizing on Brandon Petersen’s clearance attempt just 10 seconds after kick-off. Shalulile executed a brilliant finish from a tight angle, putting the hosts 1-0 up on the day and 2-1 ahead on aggregate.
Kaizer Chiefs had their first genuine chance in the 16th minute when Ashley Du Preez’s pace took him free down the inside right channel, but he couldn’t find the target from a tight angle.
However, they were awarded a penalty in the 32nd minute when Sipho Mbule’s attempt to clear a corner resulted in a handball. Du Preez stepped up to the spot and beat Ronwen Williams, making it 1-1 on the day and 2-2 overall.
As halftime approached, Sundowns struck again in added time. A counter-attack led to Lucas Ribeiro delivering an intelligent cross from the left of the box to find Shalulile, who scored with a close-range header. This put Sundowns 2-1 up in the game and 3-2 ahead on aggregate.
The second half saw changes from both teams, with Sundowns improving their counter-attacking ability and Chiefs bolstering their forward line. Chiefs created a promising opportunity on the 62nd minute when Du Preez unleashed a shot towards goal, but Williams made an excellent save with his legs to maintain Sundowns’ lead.
Chiefs continued to press for an equalizer and had a strong case for a penalty denied in injury time when Mduduzi Mdantsane appeared to be fouled in the box by Thapelo Maseko. However, the referee ignored the appeals for a second penalty, despite television replays suggesting that Chiefs had a legitimate claim.
Sundowns now await the winner of the Orlando Pirates and Stellenbosch FC semifinal, set to take place on Sunday, September 24. The MTN8 final is scheduled for Saturday, October 7, where Sundowns will aim to secure the trophy.