Johannesburg – Mamelodi Sundowns wreaked ample revenge for the defeat at the hands of Bloemfontein Celtic in last season's Telkom Cup Final with a comprehensive 4-0 win in the first round this time around at the Sebothelo Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
It was a one-sided affair which The Brazilians achieved while lifting their level to little more than cruise pace against a side who continue to lack drive and direction this season.
The result was little more than a formality after Sundowns had taken a 2-0 lead in only the seventh minute with a thousand or two of the spectators still outside the stadium because of a mix-up in ticket sales at the Botshabelo venue.
Stunned spectators trooped into the stadium to find their team already a well-beaten combination and shared in the general atmosphere of bewilderment and gloom on a sultry, energy-sapping afternoon.
Foreign imports Dove Wome (Togo) and Khama Billiat spearheaded Sundowns' victory stroll with goals before half-time, while Zimbabwe's Billiat added a second scintillating goal to his tally in the 48th minute after the teams had gone into the interval with the score at 3-0.
After Wome had opened the score in only the fourth minute, Celtic defender Limbikani Mzava performed a kamikaze act by heading the ball spectacularly into his own net past bemused goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb.
Man-of-the-match Billiat earned his billing with two perfectly-timed ground shots from outside the penalty area providing goals with Bryce Moon contributing significantly in the build-up.
The best-placed team in the Premier League table with the same number of points as four other teams at the top of the log, but with a game in hand, Sundowns continued to provide evidence they might belatedly be ending their title drought.
It was their second success of the season against hapless Celtic, with seven goals in the process while conceding only once.
And it might easily have finished by a greater margin this time around, with Sundowns substitute Katlego Mashego coming desperately close to scoring on two occasions in the closing stages when Tignyemb produced a breathtaking save to avoid more embarrassment for his lacklustre team. – Sapa