A rampant Mamelodi Sundowns thrashed a disjointed Orlando Pirates by the biggest score margin ever between the two giants of the Premier Soccer League , scoring six unanswered goals at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Saturday.
The match was held up for about an hour as Bucs fans invaded the pitch, and the players and officials had to dash off the pitch to safety. At least twelve people were reported injured.
The African Champions put up a master-class of passing football, and made it look so easy as they carved holes in the Pirates defence.
The Buccaneers flattered to deceive as they launched the first early attacks, and came close to scoring when the Sundowns defence was caught off guard and Tendai Ndoro put through Gift Motupa.
The Bucs front man rounded Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango, silencing the boisterous Sundowns supporters. But Motupa tried to place the ball in the far left hand corner – but could only find the upright, and Ricardo Nascimento played safe for a corner kick, with the Sundowns fans getting their voices back.
The near miss served as a wake-up call for the Brazilians, as they immediately launched a counter attack. The tricky Percy Tau sent through Themba Zwane, who shot wildly to give the Buccaneers respite.
The game turned into an end-to-end affair, as Sundowns attacked, and Khama Billiat often became the victim of tough tackling as he led the youngsters Tau and Zwane, with Liberian international Anthony Laffor playing deep to collect the ball and make runs on the right flank.
At this stage, the game seemed set to be a titanic battle, and it was anybody’s game. But soon, Sundowns began to find their rhythm. First, they neutralised the Bucs attack, with the central defence pairing of Nascimento and Soumahoro Bangaly settling down. Tebogo Langerman made a return from injury, and with Thapelo Morena on the right, the Sundowns last line fairly closed down the Bucs attack.
Tau and Zwane, with Billiat playing a supplier role, were a headache for the Bucs defence, running rings around them.
A goal was inevitable, and it came when Billiat put a cross into the box, and Zwane initially fluffed his lines on the blind side before recovering to put the ball into the back of the net to give the Brazilians a 1 – 0 lead.
This was to be the modus operandi of the Champions. Jackson Mabogwane made several interceptions of crosses as Sundowns tore into the Bucs defence.
Tau was on hand in the six-yard box to put the finishing touches to a well worked attack featuring Billiat and Zwane from the middle of the park. And onrushing Tau put his hand up on the far corner, and Billiat obliged, and Tau made no mistake with an easy tap-in.
This was Football 101, and Masandawana were enjoying every moment of it
The Tshwane giants took the foot off the pedal as they played possession football, frustrating the Buccaneers.
The Soweto side made some sporadic attacks, but Onyango stood firm, plucking the ball out of the air on several occasions and launching counters.
The half time whistle gave Bucs some rest, and hope for a second half recovery as the lead could have been much more than the 2–0.
But it was Sundowns who continued where they left off in the first half. And soon, Tau broke free once more, and was brought down in the box. Referee Daniel Bennet pointed to the spot.
Nascimento stepped up – and calmly sent Mabokgwane the wrong way to give the Brazilian a 3-0 lead with his first goal for Sundowns – and the writing was on the wall.
Far more relaxed, Sundowns played an easy, passing game – prompting coach Mosimane to call on them to halt it and go for more goals.
Mosimane pulled off Nasciimento and sent on “Mr Cool”, Thabo Nthete in a tactical move as Nascimento was already on a yellow card.
The master stroke came when Anele Ngconca came on for Anthony Laffor to make his debut for Sundowns – his first game since he joined the Champions last year. Morena moved up to the midfield where he brilliantly worked with Tau, Zwane and Billiat.
On the 69th minute, Morena scored his first goal for Sundowns from another play into the box to make it 4–0, before completing his brace in the 76thminute, again from combination play into the box. The former Bloemfontein Celtic playmaker’s performance earned him the Man of the Match award.
When Percy Tau netted the sixth, it was too much for the frustrated Bucs fans who invaded the pitch, sending the players and officials scuttling to the safety of the dressing room. Chaos reigned as security and police battled to control the situation as the game was stopped with eight minutes to go.
When the game finally resumed, it was a mere formality, although Bucs had another opportunity which they missed. At the end of it all, Bucs were soundly thrashed – their worst defeat in the PSL era.
Sundowns starting line-up: Denis Onyango, Thapelo Morena, Tebogo Langerman, Ricardo Nascimento (Thabo Nthete), Soumahoro Bangaly, Hlompho Kekana, Themba Zwane, Tiyani Mabunda, Anthony Laffor (Anele Ngcongca) , Khama Billiat, Percy Tau.