Royal AM overcome Stellenbosch in Chatsworth

Royal AM bounced back to winning form in the DStv Premiership thanks to a narrow 1-0 win over Stellenbosch FC at the Chatsworth Stadium in Durban on Sunday afternoon.

Tebogo Potsane’s second-half strike proved the difference between these two teams which have been surprise packages in the top-flight league in 2021-22: Thwihli Thwahla join the Maroons on 21 points (nine adrift of leaders Mamelodi Sundowns) and claim third place from the Cape side on goal difference.

Stellenbosch hit their stride early on and were inches away from claiming the lead in the seventh minute, with Ashley Du Preez’s shot touched onto the post by Royal goalkeeper Hugo Nyame.

The Cape visitors pinned their hosts back with some slick passing, as the likes of Junior Mendieta, Ashley Du Preez and udas Moseamedi saw plenty of the ball, with Royal unable to create any rhythm or momentum in the opening quarter.

The 24th minute brought another close shave for the home side, with midfielder Lantshene Phalane forced into a desperate clearance off the line to keep out Nathan Sinkala’s goal-bound header.

Royal managed to keep Stellies at bay and clicked through the gears in the latter part of the first half, with their best chance arriving on 38 minutes when Tebogo Potsane teed Ndumido Mabena up with a great scoring chance, but the veteran didn’t get a shot away quick enough and was closed down by a scrambling Maroons defence.

Goalless, at the break, Thwihli Thwahla started the second half strongly and claimed the lead just before the hour mark: Letsoalo put Potsane in behind the Stellenbosch defence and the attacker coolly slipped a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Sage Stephens to make it 1-0 on 59 minutes.

Stellies responded with a quadruple change with around 20 minutes of regulation left to play, as coach Steve Barker introduced Waseem Isaacs, Stanley Dimgba, Solomon Letsoenyo and Antonio Van Wyk.

However, the sodden and cut-up playing surface was not an ally to the Maroons as they sought to find a way back into the contest.

Nonetheless, they were able to provide a few heart-in-mouth moments for Royal, with Nyame making one particularly fine save from Isaacs in injury time to ensure the hosts picked up all three points on offer.

The teams will return to DStv Premiership action next weekend, with Royal away to AmaZulu and Stellenbosch at home to Mamelodi Sundowns – both on 4 December.

Royal AM (0) 1 (Potsane 59’)
Stellenbosch FC 0

Royal: Nyame, Mahashe, Lingwati, Manganyi, Mhkhize, Mahlasela, Phalane, Monamodi, Potsane, Mabena (Mashiane 62’), Letsoalo (Dlamini 82’)

Stellenbosch: Stephens, Kwinika, De Goede, Mthethwa (Van Wyk 72’), Van Heerden (Letsoenyo 71’), Van Rooyen, Sinkala (Adams 77’), Jabaar, Moseamedi (Isaacs 72’), Mendieta, Du Preez (Dimgba 72’)