Mamelodi Sundowns continued their perfect start to the season as they hammered Golden Arrows in their DStv Premiership clash on Tuesday.
The seventh successive championship title is very much on and the rest of the DStv Premiership clubs will have to be at their very best to dethrone Mamelodi Sundowns.
Granted, Golden Arrows were like sleep to the slaughter at the Lucas Moripe Stadium Tuesday evening, but the fact that Sundowns killed them off quickly is indication Rulani Mokwena’s men mean business once again.
They should easily have matched last year’s 6-0 hammering of the team from KwaZulu-Natal but the Brazilians dropped the ball somewhat in the second half following numerous changes to the team that was so clinical in the first half.
Lesiba Nku helped himself to a brace on his maiden full start for his new team as Marcello Allende and Themba Zwane shone like the bright stars they are.
The tie was over as a contest by half time with the Brazilians enjoying what was no doubt an unassailable 3-0 lead that could so easily have been four if not five.
— Mamelodi Sundowns FC (@Masandawana) August 16, 2023
Why Arrows thought they could stop the champions by sitting back spoke to the naivety of their technical team that is still wet behind the ears – both Vusimusi Vilakazi and Mabhuti Khanyeza still fresh as coach.
Any team that allows Sundowns time and space on the ball is calling for a through beating and so it proved for the KwaZulu-Natal outfit that hardly got out of first gear in the initial stanza.
The Brazilians coach Rulani Mokwena has been lamenting the fact that Marcello Allende’s efforts are not being recognised and that the Chilean should be winning more man-of-the-match awards. And it appeared Allende wanted to assert his boss’ stance as he dished out a compelling performance that saw him playing an influential part in the three first half goals.
Mamelodi Sundowns secured a convincing 4-0 win over Golden Arrows to continue their unbeaten run in the new campaign! 👆
— Mamelodi Sundowns FC (@Masandawana) August 15, 2023
He took the corner kick from which Peter Shalulile opened the scoring with a spectacular bicycle kick after Rivaldo Coezee headed the long ball back into the box and Mthobi Mvala sent it to the danger box with his head too. Shalulile had earned that corner when he forced a save out of Ismail Watenga in the Arrows goal.
When they scored the second three minutes later, Allende provided the assist again. A training ground build up play that saw the hosts knocking the ball about with no resistance from the opposition, Sundowns looking more like Abafana Bes’thende (Back-heel Boys) than the Lamontville outfit that goes by that moniker.
Themba Zwane used his heel to pass the ball to Allende who lost it momentarily before winning it back and sharing it with Neo Maema via a flashy back-heel. Maema squared the ball and Nku slotted the ball home with a deft back-heel which Watenga did not see coming.
Allende was not done playing the role of creator though and on 35 minutes he delivered yet another sublime in-swinging corner kick from the right side for Grant Kekana to head in brilliantly, the defender rushing to meet the ball and deftly using the back of his head to loop the ball over the Arrows defenders and into the net.
Kekana had been unfairly ruled offside by the assistant referee a minute before that and thus had his goal from close range denied when it actually should have been granted for the ball had been passed back to him by an Arrows defender.
Mokwena made changes galore and the departure of Allende and Zwane robbed Sundowns of the fluidity with which they’d played the first half. But that weakness was not immediately evident as the team looking to win a seventh successive championship title made it 4-0 just after the break when Nku completed his brace by tapping home the loose-ball after Watenga had failed to hold on to Maema’s shot.
They did not add more even though they were dominant until the end.