Leones Vegetarianos offered very little resistance on Wednesday night as Mamelodi Sundowns cantered through to a 7-1 aggregate victory in the Caf Champions League after a 5-1 win at Loftus Versfeld.
Following their 2-0 win away in Equatorial Guinea last week, the home tie always looked a formality for the 2016 African champions, and this was indeed the case as goals from Jeremy Brockie, Gaston Sirino, Hlompho Kekana, Jose Ali Meza and Lyle Lakay took them comfortably through into the first round proper.
The Tshwane team were at it from the start, and were nearly ahead with only 20 seconds played as some lovely interplay put Brockie in on goal, but he dragged his shot just wide.
The New Zealand international did not, however, have to rue his miss for long as the hosts struck in the fourth minute, Brockie sweeping in from close range at the near post after Themba Zwane had combined nicely with Sirino down the right.
There was nearly a second goal just two minutes later when Lebohang Maboe slipped in Zwane, whose shot struck the upright before Brockie’s follow-up was blocked on the line.
The second goal, on 17 minutes, was to come in bizarre fashion, and was perhaps an indication of the gulf in class between the two clubs as Vegetarianos skipper Asterio Ondeyi decided he had been fouled by Brockie and picked the ball up – in his own box, and without the whistle having been blown.
There was no option but to award a penalty, which Sirino dispatched with ease.
The remainder of the first half had the look of a practice match about it for Sundowns as they completely outplayed their opponents.
There should have been more goals though, and Sirino could have completed his hat trick before the break had he been more clinical in the Vegetarianos box with a succession of chances.
Totally against the run of play, the West Africans were to pull a goal back two minutes into the second half as Seydou Sall ran on to a defence-splitting pass and showed excellent composure to see off two defenders before finishing with a low shot past Kennedy Mweene.
Sundowns though remained calm, as was their demeanour all night, and they were again two goals to the good when Kekana faked a shot with his right boot before firing home a powerful effort with his left foot from 25 yards out to make it 3-1 in the 55th minute.
The fourth goal arrived on the hour mark, substitute Meza turning in a cross from the impressive Zwane from 10 yards out.
After several missed chances, Masandawana grabbed their final goal in the 87th minute after Lakay slotted in from close range following a clever reverse pass from Sirino.
Masandawana will now take on either FC Nouadhibou (Mauritania) or Libyan side Al-Ahly Benghazi in the first round, with the home and away games scheduled for December 14 to 16 and 21 to 23.
Sundowns will face much bigger tests yet, domestically and on the continent.
But for coach Pitso Mosimane, it was mission accomplished with the bonus of a handful of goals, a run-out from some fringe players like Meza and Anthony Laffor, and no new injury concerns from what was an easy night’s work.
African News Agency (ANA)