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Peter Shalulile Spearheaded A Draws With Sundowns

Peter Shalulile crossing in during the match between Highlands Park and Mamelodi Sundowns on 14 August 2020.
Mamelodi Sundowns came back to hold Highlands Park to a 1-1 draw in a lively PSL match which was played at Dobsonville Stadium on Friday evening.  Coach Owen Da Gama were hoping to resume their league campaign with a win having succumbed to a 2-0 defeat to SuperSport United in their last match in the competition in March.

Peter Shalulile spearheaded the Lions of the North's attack, while Tapuwa Kapini made his first league appearance of the season in the hosts' goal-posts.  Meanwhile, Pitso Mosimane's side was targeting a victory in order to close the gap on league log leaders, Kaizer Chiefs after drawing 0-0 with Orlando Pirates in midweek.

Gaston Sirino made his return to the starting line-up after serving his two-match suspension, but Masandawana were without Mosa Lebusa, who picked up an injury against Pirates. Shalulile handed Highlands Park the perfect as he grabbed an early goal after the Sundowns defence had failed to clear the ball away from danger.

The Namibia international turned well inside the box, before beating Denis Onyango in the visitors' goal-posts to make it 1-0 to Highlands Park six minutes into the match. Sundowns took control of the match after a short water break and they began creating chances as Kapini was forced to parry Themba Zwane's long-range shot over the crossbar. The Zimbabwean shot-stopper was then beaten in the 40th minute when Sphelele Mkhulise 's headed home Sirino's delightful cross to make it 1-1

It was end-to-end stuff towards the half-time break as Motjeka Madisha's header was saved by Kapini, before Onyango pulled off a fine low save from Lindokuhle Mbatha's effort.The score was 1-1 at the interval following a first half which saw Shalulile net his 13th goal of the season - one behind the league's top scorer Frank Mhango of Orlando Pirates.

Sundowns struggled to create goalscoring chances after the restart with the Lions of the North sitting too deep, while looking to launch quick counter-attacks. Mosimane decided to introduce two attack-minded youngsters Keletso Makgalwa and Promise Mkhuma, who was making his professional debut. 
Mkhuma nearly made an immediate impact when he controlled the ball well, before firing wide of the target after the Lions of the North's defence was exposed.  Mokete Mogaila, who is a speedy winger, was introduced by Da Gama as the hosts looked to snatch a late winning goal against reigning PSL champions.

However, the 25-year-old player was denied twice by Onyango, who made two great saves to ensure that the match ended in a 1-1 draw on the night. As a result, Highlands Park moved up to the seventh spot on the league standings, while Sundowns remained second on the log - three points behind leaders, Chiefs.

Mamelodi Sundowns wasted a second chance within four days to move within one point of South African Premiership leaders Kaizer Chiefs when held 1-1 by Highlands Park Friday.  Namibian Peter Shalulile raised his league goal tally for the season to 13 when he put Highlands ahead after six minutes at Dobsonville Stadium in chilly Soweto.

Sphelele Mkhulise levelled on 40 minutes with a header that took a slight deflection as it flew past veteran Zimbabwean goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini. Defending champions Sundowns dominated possession and territory in the second half but seldom looked like winning a match staged behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, record nine-time champions Sundowns squandered their first chance to close the gap behind Chiefs when drawing 0-0 with Orlando Pirates at the same venue. "We are struggling to play our usual fluid football," admitted Sundowns coach and former South Africa forward Pitso Mosimane.

"I do not want to use the pitch as an excuse, but it is bumpy in places and very dry. We love to keep the ball on the ground so these conditions do affect us." Highlands Park coach Owen da Gama hailed his team, who defended resolutely and were always dangerous when counterattacking.

- 'We have to be happy' - 

"Our last match before the COVID-19 shutdown was on March 14 so we have to be happy to hold a club chasing a treble this season. "Although Sundowns had much more of the ball we had as many chances to win the match as they did, with Peter (Shalulile) always a threat."

Chiefs have 49 points and Sundowns 46 with seven rounds remaining in a league season that resumed this week after being suspended in March due to the pandemic. The two favourites for the title are followed by Orlando Pirates (41 points), SuperSport United (40) and Bidvest Wits and Maritzburg United (39 each). While Chiefs are seeking a first trophy in five seasons, Sundowns have their eyes on a treble having won the League Cup and reached the FA Cup final.

Earlier, Cape Town City eased their relegation worries with a 1-0 victory over Chippa United in a scrappy clash of bottom-half clubs at Orlando Stadium in Soweto. The lone goal came on 17 minutes when careless Chippa defending allowed Fargie Lakay to cross for Kermit Erasmus to nod past Mlungisi Mazibuko.

Goalkeeper Mazibuko, who slipped as he tried to reach the ball, was making his Premiership debut at the age of 28. Mamelodi Sundowns Coach Mosimane Laments Lack Of Fluidity Against Highlands Park. Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane was left to lament their poor display in a 1-1 draw in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) against Highlands Park on Friday evening, admitting they are struggling to play their normal game.

After facing the hard-running Lions of the North at Dobsonville Stadium, the Brazilians failed to close the gap on log leaders Kaizer Chiefs who lead with 49 points, while the Tshwane giants have 46 points from 23 matches.

Moreover, his counterpart Owen Da Gama hailed his troops for their gutsy display, saying he will have a peaceful sleep, and that goalscorer Peter Shalulile is the top striker in the PSL by far. “I’m not happy, yeah we were just killed by that early goal and in the first half we moved the ball well. We didn’t play enough but in stages of the game and I feel we could have played enough,” Mosimane told SuperSport TV.

“There was too much anxiety, too much anxiousness you know to try and score. The first-half was okay, we played better and you could see it coming. "But yeah the first goal killed us, it looked like there was a hand that helped Shalulile to bring it forward. It looked like, I don’t know because too many hands in Dobsonville, there was another hand against [Orlando] Pirates. So, there was a hand again tonight in my opinion. If it’s not there I’m happy to be wrong.

"Yeah well, we should not go to [Motjeka] Madisha all the time, if we go to Madisha, he made a brilliant tackle here on Paseka Mako. He made another clearance against Orlando Pirates and no one was picking, why [must we] pick on Madisha again – we can’t destroy the player.

"We are trying to put the best playing team or players in the team, to try and play. It came up a little bit in the first half, second - half we struggled a little bit. “I think we must seal the game earlier, like [Bidvest] Wits we finished well but for the last two games, it’s been tough. It’s difficult, we are trying. We want to play the way we always play with Themba Zwane but it didn’t come out. So, we move on what are we going to do?”

On the part of the hosts, Da Gama hailed his troops for their hard work, saying they vowed they would not lose to the reigning PSL champions for the third time this season. “I’m so proud of the boys, it is our second season in the PSL and the very first-time Sundowns beat us in the last minute and again in the last game - we said it’s not going to happen again,” Da Gama told SuperSport TV.

“If we can’t win the game, we are certainly happy with a point. These are champions in the making, they are fighting for the league and I’m very happy, proud of the boys and they were exceptional.

“They fought and there were times I thought we could have taken the game, we don’t want to talk about the match officials. Let’s give the credit to the boys, I thought they played very well, they fought hard. “Peter Shalulile, [he's] the best striker in the PSL by far. I mean he was controlling that entire defence alone. Aerial balls and on the ground.

"So, I’m very proud of each and every player, the technical team as well. In the second half when we came back, we came back much stronger. We fixed up in the middle and we were stronger. “Shalulile has been scoring at training, he’s been scoring in friendly matches from the beginning of the season and proved it in the NFD (National First Division), he’s proved in the second season in the PSL."

Shalulile: Highlands Park Striker Can Help Mamelodi Sundowns In Caf Champions League - Mngqithi. Mamelodi Sundowns assistant coach Manqoba Mngqithi says he is unsure if discussions over Highlands Park striker Peter Shalulile have been re-opened while he confirmed their previous interest in the talisman.

The veteran manager says because of the money that was demanded by the Lions of the North, they could not go ahead and pursue the Namibia international's signature. On the other hand, the former Golden Arrows boss is confident the 27-year-old can be helpful in their Caf Champions League campaign because of his speed and ability to finish the chances.

“I can’t confirm that talks have been re-opened but what I know is that we wanted to sign him [Shalulile] before, we failed to sign him because of the transfer fee they wanted for him, it was a stumbling block,” Mngqithi told Isolezwe.

“All I can say is that if we get him now, he will be very helpful when we play in Africa, especially when we are facing the North African teams. “His speed will make our attack quick and penetrate the defence of the North Africans with speed because they are not quick to track back when you attack them – he uses his speed very well.”

Meanwhile, coach Owen Da Gama recently confirmed that the Brave Warriors international has also attracted interest from an unnamed Egyptian club. On the other hand, Shalulile has been heavily linked with a move from the Lions of the North with Premier Soccer League (PSL) giants such as Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates reportedly linked with his signature.

While his future remains a subject of speculation, the club’s co-chairman Larry Brookstone was as quoted saying the marksman was at the same level as former Brazilians stars such as Percy Tau and Keagan Dolly in terms of monetary value. Brookstone suggested they will not accept anything less than R30 million for the services of the striker who is gunning for the PSL top scorer award.

Surprisingly, Shalulile netted for the Tembisa-based club on Friday night against the reigning PSL champions, taking his tally to 13 goals so far. “Peter Shalulile, [he's] mean controlling entire defence alone. Aerial balls ground. "So, each every player, technical in back, back stronger. fixed middle “Shalulile has scoring training. Meanwhile, recently Brave Warriors international also attracted unnamed Egyptian club.

With the Lions of the North pushing to qualify for the MTN8 next season and banking on Shalulile’s prowess in front of goal, it remains to be seen if they will eventually be able to release the Windhoek-born hitman.
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