Safranko-inspired Sundowns humiliate Pirates

Mamelodi Sundowns © Backpagepix

Mamelodi Sundowns hammered Orlando Pirates 4-1 in the DStv Premiership match at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Friday night.

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The victory saw Masandawana open an 18 point lead at the top of the league standings, while the Buccaneers remained third on the log despite suffering a heavy defeat.

Masandawana threatened first when Lyle Lakay's delightful cross found an unmarked Thapelo Morena in the Bucs box and the speedy player volleyed his effort just over the crossbar just three minutes into the match.

The Buccaneers were not happy to sit back and invite pressure. Thembinkosi Lorch played a lovely pass for Deon Hotto, whose left-footed shot went narrowly wide of goalkeeper Denis Onyango's left upright in the 15th minute.

Sundowns were dominating possession with Andile Jali seeing a lot of the ball in midfield. The former Pirates star played a defensive splitting pass for Peter Shalulile in the 36th minute, but the Namibian hitman placed his effort wide of the target.

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The score was 0-0 during the half-time break following a first-half which had no shots on target. Pirates had done well to contain the league's top scorer Shalulile, who scored twice as Sundowns defeated Bucs 2-0 in Soweto in September this year.

However, the reigning DStv Premiership Footballer of the Year was involved when the hosts took the lead after the restart. Shalulile headed Lakay's free-kick into Themba Zwane's path and the midfielder netted from close range to hand Sundowns a 1-0 lead in the 51st minute.

The reigning league champions then pressed the Buccaneers as they searched for their second goal of the game and they got it in the 61st minute. Lakay's corner-kick was headed home by substitute Pavol Safranko to extend Sundowns' lead to 2-0. 

The Pirates technical team responded by introducing Frank Mhango and Fortune Makaringe. However, Sundowns continued to dominate the game and they extended their lead to 3-0 when Safranko scored with a low shot in the 72nd minute.

Masandawana were running riot as Shalulile put his name on the score sheet with 14 minutes left. Another Lakay's free-kick was headed home by Shalulile in the blind spot to make it 4-0 to Sundowns - scoring his 13 league goal of the season.

Pirates' substitutes Mhango and Makaringe did combine to grab a goal for the visitors as the latter fired past goalkeeper Denis Onyango with a thunderous shot in stoppage time. However, the goal proved to be a mere consolation as Sundowns emerged 4-1 winners on the night.

Sundowns 4 (Zwane 51', Safranko 61', 72', Shalulile 76')
Pirates 1 (Makaringe 90'+2')

SUNDOWNS: D. Onyango, De Reuck, Coetzee, Nascimento, Kekana (Safranko 46'), Lakay (Ngobeni 80'), Jali (Modiba 66'), Morena, Mkhulise (Mvala 65'), Zwane, Shalulile (Kapinga 80'). 

PIRATES: Mpontshane, Nyauza, Ndah (Mngonyama 46), Shandu (Dlamini 63'), Mako, Motshwari, Mosele (Makaringe 69'), Makhubela, Lorch (Maela 63'), Hotto (Mhango 69'), Peprah.