They call him ‘Cash Money’, and Cassius Mailula was on the money as his solitary goal won Mamelodi Sundowns all the three points against Al Hilal Omdurman.
In a game where the Brazilians were not their clinical selves, Mailula once again proved why he is the talk of the town, finishing from a rebound after Al Hilal’s keeper parried a Maema shot his way.
Despite enjoying 71% of the ball, and amassing 21 attempts on goal, Mamelodi Sundowns only managed 7 shots on target, mostly half chances, which led to them scoring a single goal.
Al Hilal had a meager 8 goal attempts throughout the match, putting 3 on target.
Even though their stats do not give much to write home about, they did create a few threatening situations of their own, especially from their right hand side, where they managed to take Aubrey Modiba to cleaners with worrying regularity.
Did Downs miss Themba Zwane?
Looking at the number of opportunities Mamelodi Sundowns created, one might be tempted to say they didn’t really miss Zwane.
But it is the quality of the opportunities that makes one think otherwise.
Mshishi has the ability to help Mamelodi Sundowns create chances with the higher probability of them turning into goals with his prowess in between the lines and creative play around the box.
Although Maema gave a good account of himself in the number 10 role behind Shalulile and Mailula, with the goal resulting from his shot, Zwane could have given Downs a different dimension had he not been injured.
Today’s Sundowns performance in the final third once again highlighted Mshishi’s importance in the team.
How did Mamelodi Sundowns’s starters rate today?
Ronwen Williams. 5/10
He was not tested much, with Al Hilal only managing three shorts on target.
On a few occasions he was called into action, he dealt comfortably with the threat.
Khuliso Mudau. 5/10
Sailor was his usual hard working self, working tirelessly on all four phases of the game.
Although he could have done better offensively, still he didn’t have a bad day at the office.
Aubrey Modiba. 4/10
Modiba’s side was targeted by Al Hilal to launch their attacks, with him not being able to recover on time, if an Al Hilal goal was to come, it was most likely to come from his side.
He needs to improve his defending and positional recovery.
Mothobi Mvala/Grant Kekana. 5/10
The two Mamelodi Sundowns center backs were not really tested by Al Hilal.
In a few instances they were called into action, they came out on top.
Tebogo Mokoena. 7/10
Tebza gave a matured performance as a single pivot in the Mamelodi Sundowns diamond midfield.
He screened his center backs well, and provided good cover for his center backs when they pushed forward.
Sphelele Mkhulise. 4/10
Mkhulise was not his influential self, and didn’t impact the game much offensively.
Did well though during defensive transitions to put pressure on Al Hilal.
Marcello Allende. 6/10
Allende did well in all four phases of play.
In possession, he kept things simple, finding the right passes to keep Downs ball circulation going.
He had one or two good chances where he could have scored or forced the keeper into making a save.
Defensively, he worked his socks off, which is probably the reason coach Rulani Mokwena prefers him as a starter in midfield.
Neo Maema. 6/10
Maema played operated in the number 10 role today, just behind Shalulile and Mailula.
Although he didn’t give the best of performances, he created one or two chances for Downs, with the goal coming from his well taken shot that was parried by Al Hilal’s keeper back to Mailula’s path.
Cassius Mailula. 7/10
The youngster gave another good performance upfront, and was a constant threat to Al Hilal’s defense with his runs and positioning.
His goal came as a result of good anticipation inside the box, a mark of a top striker.
Peter Shalulile. 6/10
It wasn’t Shasha’s best performance, but he worked tirelessly upfront, doing a lot of running to try and disorganize Al Hilal’s defense line.