Sundowns need extra-time to beat plucky Stellenbosch

Defending Nedbank Cup champions Mamelodi Sundowns booked their spot in the last-16 with a 3-2 win over Stellenbosch FC at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Tshwane on Wednesday.

Peter Shalulile scored what proved to be the winner in the 117th minute of the match. Goals from Shalulile and Gaston Sirino set the Brazilians on course for victory in regulation time following Ashley du Preez's opener, but Phathutshedzo Nange scored a 93rd minute equaliser to level matters and set up an additional 30 minutes of extra-time.

Sundowns showcased their intention from the onset and went close within the first 30 seconds through Themba Zwane, who failed to hit the target after being awarded space and time in the penalty area.

Stellenbosch seemed content from the onset to hit their more illustrious hosts on the counter-attack but were gifted the opener in the 12th minute following a defensive error. Rivaldo Coetzee, with no pressure on him, passed the ball straight at a lurking Du Preez who raced into the penalty area before firing past Ricardo Goss against the run of play.

The Brazilians hit straight back and leveled matters through Shalulile four minutes later. The Namibia international beat the offside trap and ran onto a pin-point pass from Lebohang Maboe before lifting the ball over the onrushing Sage Stephens before passing it into an empty net, for his eighth goal of the campaign.

Stephens was called into action on the cusp of halftime to keep Stellenbosch at level pegging heading into the break and pulled off a diving save to keep out Lyle Lakay's free-kick.

Sundowns continued to dominate possession after the interval and finally cut open the Stellies defence in the 72nd minute with eye-catching combination play, but Shalulile failed to convert from point-blank range.

Stephens then pulled off an excellent save to keep out Sirino's curling effort two minutes later, but the Uruguayan would have the beating of the Stellenbosch shot-stopper in the first minute of stoppage-time, with a rasping effort from the edge of the area.

But Stellenbosch didn't drop their heads and duly punished their hosts who downed tools following Sirino's goal. Junior Mendieta eased past a flat-footed Andile Jali on the right flank before teeing up Nange who powered home from close range with the final kick of regulation time.

Shalulile hit the woodwork in the 110th minute as Sundowns continued to boss proceedings before finding the winner with three minutes remaining. Lesedi Kapinga found his teammate with a neat touch and the in-form marksman did the rest, curling a right-footed finish past Stephens off the inside of the post.

Stellenbosch had one final chance to send the match to penalties but Goss was alert to the danger and produced a fine save to keep out Nathan Sinkala's header attempt as Sundowns held on to book their spot in the next round where they join Polokwane City, who defeated fellow GladAfrica Championship side Steenberg United 2-0 in the Limpopo province earlier this afternoon.

Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 3 (Shalulile 16' 117' Sirino 90+1')

Stellenbosch FC (1) 2 (Du Preez 12' Nange 90+3')

Sundowns 3-2 after extra-time

Mamelodi Sundowns: Goss, Lakay, Nascimento (Erasmus 87'), Lebusa, Maboe, Coetzee, Jali, Mkhulise (Morena 109'), Sirino, Zwane (Kapinga 87'), Shalulile (Soumahoro 120').

Stellenbosch FC: Stephens; Van Heerden, Robertson, Johannes, Macheke (Moon 112'), Sinkala, Msengi (Nange 68'), Adams (Scott 90'), Van Rooyen (Mthethwa 75'), Dimgba (Mendieta 67'), Du Preez (Skelem 46').