Johannesburg — Brazilian Lucas Ribeiro scored to earn Mamelodi Sundowns a 1-0 win over AmaZulu on Wednesday, and a record-extending 10th straight South African Premiership victory since the season started.
The 25-year-old, signed five months ago from Belgian club SK Beveren, converted a 21st-minute penalty awarded after Themba Zwane was fouled by Mbongeni Gumede in a clash of captains.
By scoring, Ribeiro rose to the top of the Golden Boot race with seven goals, one more than Tshegofatso Mabasa of Moroka Swallows and Khanyiso Mayo of Cape Town Spurs.
Although sidelined for part of the 2023-2024 season through injury, the South American has also netted three times in the CAF Champions League.
The Referee blows the final whistle and Masandawana make it 🔟 consecutive wins in the DStv Premiership! 👆
— Mamelodi Sundowns FC (@Masandawana) December 6, 2023
Victory for the Pretoria outfit at a rain-soaked Durban stadium took the defending champions five points clear of second-placed Cape Town City, despite playing three fewer matches.
Last week, Sundowns bettered the record of eight victories from the start of a season that they had shared with Kaizer Chiefs by defeating SuperSport United in a Pretoria derby.
Coach Rulani Mokwena said after the victory over AmaZulu, who lacked suspended Nigerian forward Augustine Kwem, that the “winning mentality” of his team was crucial.
“Our mentality got us over the line. We suffered at times tonight and had to battle for the three points,” he said.
“Between domestic and African competitions, we are playing virtually every three days and it is impossible to always play attractive football.
“The mark of champions is winning when not at your best. We had good moments against AmaZulu and not-so-good ones.”
Lucas Ribeiro’s goal against AmaZulu FC on Wednesday was his 7th in 10 games for Mamelodi Sundowns.
— Nicowizzy Ikenna (@nicowizzyikenna) December 7, 2023
As Spain-born AmaZulu coach Pedro Franco reflected on a third consecutive home loss in all competitions, he drew comfort from his side forcing Sundowns to waste time.
“I cannot recall the last time I saw Mamelodi wasting time at the end of each half. That is a tribute to the efforts of my team,” said the former Real Madrid assistant manager.
On Tuesday, Orlando Pirates, league runners-up behind Sundowns last season, climbed to sixth with a comfortable 2-0 win over disappointing top-half rivals Moroka Swallows in Soweto.