High fives all around for Sundowns
JOHANNESBURG – There sure can no longer be doubting the different in class between Sundowns and the rest of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs after this.
On a weekend when tight matches were the order of the day in the Telkom Knockout, the Brazilians enjoyed the equivalent of a Sunday afternoon stroll in the park to book their place in the quarter-finals of the country’s league cup.
Ernst Middendorp, the Kaizer Chiefs coach who was sitting in the main stands, left before the fifth goal to jeers from the Sundowns fans. No doubt the German would be crossing his fingers that his team, which sneaked into the next round via penalties, will avoid the Brazilians in tomorrow night’s draw.
The scoreline should actually have been much wider had Pitso Mosimane’s men been much more lethal in the final third. But why overexert yourself in a match whose result was never in any doubt when you can spare yourself for tougher matches still to come? That appeared to be the Brazilians’ attitude as they went about dismantling a hapless AmaZulu outfit without really getting into top gear.
Gaston Sirino helped himself to a second half brace to add to Ali Meza’s first half strike while Mario Booysen endured an AmaZulu debut he would rather forget by heading in an own goal that put the home side 2-0 up shortly after the break.
Sundowns should have rendered the match a no-contest pretty early on but they pussy-footed about with the ball when they should have made their dominance count.
Themba Zwane was particularly indecisive and reluctant to take responsibility despite finding himself in scoring positions.
It could easily have been him who scored that opener on the stroke of half-time but again he chose to share the ball after being set up by Thapelo Morena with a splendid pass. Inside the box with a clear shot on goal, Zwane spread the ball wide and was lucky Meza was alert to slot home into the net.
Straight after the break, Sundowns upped the tempo a bit and one of their forays upfront saw Andile Jali lob the ball towards the Usuthu box. Booysen, signed by the KwaZulu/Natal outfit on Thursday, headed the ball backwards only to find that goalkeeper Neil Boschoff had advanced. The well-travelled defender and his captain Tapelo Xoki could only watch in horror as the ball went into their net.
That goals ended AmaZulu's resistance.
Thapelo Morena earned a spot kick after being hacked and Sirino easily converted. The Uruguayan added his second before substitute Mauricio Affonso added to the carnage three minutes from time.
Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 5
Meza 45 Booysen 55 (og) Sirino 71 pen 78 Affonso 87