Johannesburg - Revenge would never have tasted sweeter than it did for Kaizer Chiefs at a packed FNB Stadium on Saturday when they crushed traditional rivals Orlando Pirates 3-1 in an Absa Premiership Soweto derby.
Chiefs not only avenged their 2-1 aggregate defeat to Pirates in the two-leg MTN8 semifinal in August, but have also emerged, at this early stage of the season, as serious contenders for the Premiership title.
Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi, who before the game had said reputations were made and ruined in the derby, was responsible for both of Chiefs' first half goals in front of an 80,000 strong crowd.
Daine Klate, who has been outstanding for Pirates since he joined them from PSL champions SuperSport United at the start of the season, had the misfortune of scoring his first own goal to get the ball rolling for Chiefs in the sixth minute.
Trying to clear a cross from Knowledge Musona, Klate steered the ball past Bucs goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs to give Amakhosi the lead.
The fault for the goal, however, lay with Pirates skipper Lekgwathi who allowed Zimbabwean striker Musona to steal the ball and set up a goal scoring chance.
Klate tried hard to make up for the own goal when his 12th minute free kick missed the target by centimetres. A minute later he was again unlucky when another free kick flew past the woodwork as Pirates tried desperately to level the scores.
Musona wasted a great chance to stretch the lead in the 25th minute when he fired past the post from close range.
Pirates were fortunate not to concede another goal in the 33rd minute when Amakhosi midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane was allowed to run through the shaken Bucs defence. Instead of shooting when he moved into a scoring position, however, the defensive midfielder opted to pass inside the penalty area and the chance was lost.
Pirates defender Rooi Mahamutsa hit the side netting in the 40th minute from a Klate corner and Chiefs led 1-0 at half-time.
More drama unfolded at the other end four minutes after the break when referee Buyile Gqubule awarded Chiefs a penalty. Lekgwathi was adjudged to have fouled Musona inside the Pirates penalty area.
Musona picked himself off the ground and stroked the ball past Josephs from the penalty spot to give the visitors a commanding 2-0 lead.
Bucs' Happy Jele had a close range shot deflected for a corner by Chiefs keeper Itumeleng Khune in the 49th minute as Bucs fought to get back into the game.
Andile Jali then fired a 25-metre rocket that flew fractionally over the Chiefs crossbar in the 52nd minute.
With Pirates dictating the pace of the game early in the second half, they should have reduced the deficit in the 58th minute when striker Thulasizwe Mbuyane found himself in front of the Chiefs goal. He rushed his shot, though, and it flew well over the crossbar and never troubled Khune.
The battle was all over in the 60th minute when the shaky Pirates defence was punished for a third time.
Mahamutsa and Josephs failed to clear a high ball which fell to the ever dangerous Musona who headed into an empty net to make it 3-0.
Josephs prevented further embarrassment when he did well to save a goal bound shot from Chiefs captain Jimmy Tau in the 70th minute.
A minute later Letsholonyane chipped just wide of the woodwork with the Pirates defence in a state of disarray.
Pirates, to their credit, never gave up and were able to pull a goal back when striker Ezenwa Otorugu reduced the deficit in the 76th minute to make it 3-1.
Six mintes later Otorugu missed the target, and the big Nigerian forward watched in horror on the stroke of full time as Khune made a great save from his close range effort.