Sundowns in seventh heaven
Katlego Mashego (Gallo Images)
Pretoria - Mamelodi Sundowns have thrashed AmaZulu 7-1 at Loftus Versfeld on Tuesday, a month since their last PSL appearance and looking to bounce back from a disappointing Cup defeat at the weekend.
Katlego Mashego scored his first two goals for the Brazilians, while Katlego Mphela also scored a brace.
Mashego put in a classy performance, netting either side of half-time, for his first goals since joining from Moroka Swallows in July.
Hlompho Kekana opened the scoring two minutes into the clash, before Cuthbert Malajila added the second 18 minutes later.
Mashego wasted little time, scoring his first a minute after Malajila had extended the lead.
The hosts were far from finished, as Dove Wome drove home the fourth goal on the stroke of half-time to send the home side into the break looking in complete control.
Despite AmaZulu pulling one back in the second period, Mashego completed his brace, before his replacement and namesake Katlego Mphela completed the rout in the 86th and 90th minutes.
Sundowns stormed ahead as Kekana picked up a misplaced pass from the AmaZulu defence and punished the visitors with a thunderous shot which clipped the underside of the crossbar to hand the Pretoria side the lead 90 seconds into the match.
Having gone behind just seconds into the tie, AmaZulu were put under heavy pressure and soon found themselves 2-0 down as Malajila pounced on a ball across the face of goal and slotted home past goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini.
The Brazilians were hungry for more, and a minute later Mashego opened his Sundowns account with a superb turn inside the area, preferring his weaker left foot, but sliding a delicate shot past Kapini nonetheless.
Looking to get in on the action, Wome and Malajila linked-up with some enterprising play late in the opening half to tee-up Wome, whose shot took a touch off of the upright to beat Kapini and put Sundowns out of reach.
With few opportunities falling their way, AmaZulu had to rely on a dubious penalty awarded in the 64th minute to restore any sort of respectability to the score-line.
Television replays suggested referee Lwandile Mfiki got it wrong when he pointed to the penalty spot following an attacking throw-in from Usuthu.
Alje Schut was adjudged to have pushed himself off an AmaZulu player, as Sthembiso Ngcobo powered home the spot-kick to reduce the deficit to three.
The hosts restored their cushion courtesy of Mashego's second of the night, after Mzikayise Mashaba put the striker through on goal with a pinpoint through ball which left a below par AmaZulu defence for dead.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane replaced Mashego with Mphela and not long after, the former Bafana Bafana attacker was on target, scoring his first of the season with a spectacular volley from close-range.
Mphela, who had missed much of last season through injury, showed his mettle and scored his second in the dying minutes as Sundowns moved into first place on the PSL standings.