Four-goal Sundowns send Pirates packing
Brazilians book a place in the semifinal with TTM as they stretch their domestic unbeaten run to 23 matches
Mamelodi Sundowns continued their domineering run on the domestic scene with a comprehensive 4-1 thrashing of hapless Orlando Pirates in their Nedbank Cup quarterfinal at Loftus on Thursday night.
With this victory, the Brazilians have booked a place in the semifinal with Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) on Sunday at home where they will be looking to keep their hopes of a treble alive.
They are still in the quarterfinal of the Caf Champions League and they enjoy a six-point lead at the top of the Premier Soccer League over second-placed AmaZulu, who have played two games more.
This victory, which was achieved through a goal in the first half by Peter Shalulile and three more by Themba Zwane, Lesedi Kapinga and Hlompho Kekana after the break, has stretched their domestic unbeaten run to 23 matches.
It is also worth noting that when they line up against TTM on Sunday in the semis, it will be their fourth match in 10 days following recent outings against CR Belouizdad of Algeria, Chippa United and Pirates.
The match got off to a flying start and Pirates suffered an early injury scare when goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands needed medical attention after he was struck on the head by a close-range shot from Shalulile.
There was another scare a few minutes later when defender Paseka Mako fell awkwardly after he collided with Gaston Sirino but he was able to continue after a concussion test.
Sundowns opened the scoring on 12 minutes through Shalulile’s effort, who beat Sandilands with a shot from outside the box after he received a clever pass from Rivaldo Coetzee.
On the half-hour mark, Shalulile and Zwane failed to communicate inside the box and an opportunity to increase their lead went begging after they had breached the Pirates defence.
It was not all Sundowns, as Pirates had their moments through Deon Hotto, Gabadinho Mhango and Tshegofatso Mabasa, but their opponents’ defence marshalled by Mosa Lebusa and Rushine de Reuck stood firm.
Pirates got it right just after the half-hour mark when Mabasa equalised after receiving a pass from Mhango from the left when the Sundowns defence was caught napping.
Four minutes from the break, Lebusa produced a timely sliding tackle inside the box to deny goal-bound Mhango as Pirates continued to create chances in search of the second goal.
Sundowns retook the lead three minutes after the restart through the sensational Zwane when he struck with his weaker left foot from a tight angle to find the net.
Sundowns ensured passage to the semifinal with a well-taken curling shot by Kapinga when he received the ball from Zwane after 78 minutes and the match was put beyond doubt by Kekana five minutes from time.
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