Superb Downs saunter into the Top8 final

New signings Lunga, Maema add to Shalulile opener

Neville Khoza Journalist
Michael Gumede of Golden Arrows tackled by Rushine De Reuck of Mamelodi Sundowns during the 2021 MTN8 semifinal 2nd leg match.
Michael Gumede of Golden Arrows tackled by Rushine De Reuck of Mamelodi Sundowns during the 2021 MTN8 semifinal 2nd leg match.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns produced another fine display to beat Golden Arrows 3-0 [4-1 in aggregate] in the MTN8 semifinal second leg at Lucas Moripe Stadium yesterday to advance to the final.

Goals from Peter Shalulile, Divine Lunga and Neo Maema sent the Brazilians through and they now have a huge chance to end their 14-year wait to win this top 8 title.

It was a dominant performance from Sundowns and Arrows didn’t have any answers for their attacking play and high press.

Ex-Arrows man Lunga ran out for his debut as Pavol Safranko replaced Kermit Erasmus in the starting line-up, while Reyaad Pieterse came in for Denis Onyango from the team that beat Orlando Pirates on Saturday.

Arrows made four changes from the 1-1 draw with Sekhukhune United. Themba Mantshiyane, Velemseni Ndwandwe, Nduduzo Sibiya and Michael Gumede all started.

The home side got off to a perfect start as in-form Shalulile gave them a lead with the match just four minutes old following a tap-in after Arrows shot-stopper Sifiso Mlungwana spilt a strike from Thabiso Kutumela inside the box.

Ndwandwe almost levelled matters for Arrows with a snapshot from just outside the box that produced a great out-stretching save from Pieterse towards the bottom corner.

That was the closest Arrows came to scoring as Sundowns kept them at their half while dictating the tempo of the game. Sundowns continued to threaten going forward and increased their lead just before the half-hour mark when Lunga gave them a 2-0 lead with a glancing header inside the box from a Kutumela free-kick.

Arrows offered little going forward in the opening half as they barely managed a sustained period of possession.

Sundowns looked to continue where they left off in the opening half, but they didn't have the same rhythm and were not that lethal like they were in the first half. Arrows were better in the second half even though they didn't create enough chances and Pieterse didn't have much to do.

Another new signing, Maema made it 3-0  in injury time with a curling curve to the top corner to seal the game. Sundowns will know today who they will face in the October 30 final between Swallows and Cape Town City, who play in the other semifinal at Dobsonville Stadium (6pm).

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