Kermit Erasmus grabbed a brace as Orlando Pirates thrashed Mamelodi Sundowns 3-0 in an Absa Premiership clash that was played at the Loftus Versfeld stadium on Wednesday night
It was the visitors who had the first real chance of the game, when striker Kermit Erasmus' curling corner-kick met defender Ayanda Gcaba's head, but the lanky centre-back failed to direct his header towards goal inside the opening three minutes.
Pirates pressed quite high early on, while probing on the edge of the Sundowns box and their pressure paid off in the 14th minute.
Former SuperSport United forward Erasmus broke on the right hand side of the pitchn and superbly chipped the ball over Kennedy Mweene to make it 1-0 to the Buccaneers.
The Brazilians, who were struggling to break down the solid Bucs back line, had their first shot on target in the 27th minute. Hard tackling midfielder Hlompho Kekana was just unfortunate as his thunderous effort struck the crossbar with Senzo Meyiwa well beaten.
Three minutes later, veteran Sundowns midfielder Surprise Moriri did well to bring down the ball on the edge of the Bucs box, before unleashing a powerful strike that again came off the framework.
Sundowns were slowly getting their feet and it was ex-Pirates midfielder Teko Modise, who made a good run into the Bucs box, and his attempt at goal forced Meyiwa into a decent save.
It was end-to-end stuff, as in the 34th minute, Bucs striker Erasmus nearly grabbed his brace, after turning brilliantly inside the Downs box, only for his effort to go inches wide although Mweene's seemed to have it covered.
Meyiwa was lucky to gather an aerial ball before new Downs striker Mame Niang could bounce onto it after the 26-year-old keeper had initially failed to clear the ball.
Pirates managed to hold on to their 1-0 lead heading into the half-time break in a chilly night at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium.
Pitso Mosimane introduced Kudakwashe Mahachi at the start of the second half, and the Zimababwean midfielder sliced past the Pirates defence on the right hand side with his first real touch, and his curling cross led to Pirates defence scrambling to clear before Siyabonga Sangweni booted the ball away for safety.
In the 63rd minute, Daine Klate played a beautiful floated pass to set striker Erasmus through and the 23-year-old forward once lobbed the ball over Mweene, to make it 2-0 to Pirates.
Downs continued to search in vain for a goal, with Cuthbert Malajila and midfielder Moriri failing to get the ball past Meyiwa.
Meyiwa was called up to make a great save in the 73rd minute, after Downs tricky winger Elias Pelembe dribbled his way into the Bucs box, but Meyiwa finger tipped Pelembe's strike over the bar for a corner.
Almost immediately at the other end, Pirates made it 3-0 when substitute Lehlohonolo Majoro struck a powerful left-footed shot that beat Mweene hands down from inside the Sundowns' box.
Pelembe missed a sitter inside the Bucs box with eight minutes left on the clock, failing to hit the back of the net after receiving a good pass from Modise on the right hand side.
Pirates finished with 10 men after Thabo Matlaba was shown red for a reckless tackle on Downs winger Mahachi in referee's optional time, but the Buccaneers had already secured maximum points away from home.