The outcome of the match was never in doubt. After all, what chance did a Burundian outfit positioned 12th in their own league have of getting the better of six-time South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who are on a six match winning streak at the top of the table?
None would have been the answer.
Masandawana make a statement in the first leg of our #TotalEnergiesCAFCL preliminary qualifier! 👆— Mamelodi Sundowns FC (@Masandawana) September 15, 2023
Bumamuru FC 0️⃣➖4️⃣ Mamelodi Sundowns (12', 37' Ribeiro, 41' Nku, 80' Shalulile)#Sundowns #DownsLive #TotalEnergiesCAFCL pic.twitter.com/ZnmDx4c13K
And so it was not surprising that Mamelodi Sundowns sauntered to an easy 4-0 second preliminary round, first leg CAF Champions League victory over Bumamuru FC at the neutral Azam Complex Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Friday afternoon.
While the second leg is still to be played, there is little chance of the Burundian club that reached this stage of the competition via a 6-2 aggregate victory over Gabonese outfit Centre Sportif de Bendje coming to Atteridgeville and turning the tables on Rulani Mokwena’s Brazilians.
Such was the ease with which Sundowns disposed of their opposition that to expect them to score more than a handful of goals in the second leg would not be stretching it much. As it was, they could so easily have smashed their opposition by much more. The fact that they failed to find the net more than once after the break was more surprising juxtaposed with the ease with which they had rendered the match a no-contest in the initial stanza.
The multiple DSTV Premiership champions enjoyed a 3-0 half-time lead thanks to a brace from Brazilian Lucas Ribeiro Costa who opened the scoring via a penalty on 12 minutes following a handball inside the box. He then made it 2-0 on 37 minutes as he continued to show just why Sundowns lured him from the Belgian League, Ribeiro having already scored at least four times in domestic league and cup competitions.
Lesiba Nku then added his name to the scoresheet shortly before half time to raise hopes of a massacre in Tanzania, with some Sundowns fans suggesting their team was out to register a win as the record massacre of Powerlines FC in the 2012 Nedbannk Cup. They were being a tad too ambitious of course just as those who proclaimed the Brazilians ready to be crowned continental champions and predicted a Sundowns v Orlando Pirates final of Africa’s premier club knockout competition.
It was not that Sundowns did not have the opportunities to score more. Far from it, for the talismanic attacker that is Ribeiro could have completed a hat-trick three minutes after the break but his powerful attempt rattled the crossbar.
Before him in the first half, Junior Mendieta had threatened to open the scoring on 19 minutes but watched in disbelief as his attempt rolled just wide of the target while Teboho Mokoena blasted a free kick over.
Late in the game, on 70 minutes Mokwena made four changes at a go – brining on Lebogang Maboe, Khuliso Mudau, Peter Shalulile and Bongan Zungu in the place of Rivaldo Voetzee, Bathusi Aubaas, Ribeiro and Mokoena – in a bid to freshen up the team and hopefully add to the goals.
And the change proved a masterstroke as Namibian Shalulile scored just ten minutes after coming on to make it 4-0.
The scoreline flattered the Burundians who were given a taste of their own medicine having smashed BEndje 5-1 in the second leg late in August They will need Ellie Eldinho Mokono and Valentin Ali Shabani to rediscover the scoring form which saw the duo score a brace and a hat-trick respectively in that match if Bumamuru are to pull the rug from underneath Sundowns’ feet in the second leg.
There’s more chance of Rulani Mokwena not beginning his post-match media address by saying ‘congratulations’ than the Burundi outfit winning at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in the second leg.