Jeremy Brockie, Gaston Sirino, Hlompho Kekana, Jose Ali Meza and Lyle Lakay were all on target as Mamelodi Sundowns claimed a morale-boosting win and booked their place into the next round of the Caf Champions League.
With one foot in the next round of the Caf Champions League, Sundowns looked to complete the job in Tshwane as they welcomed Leones Vegetarianos to the Loftus Versfeld Stadium.
Masandawana gave their chances of progression a major boost as they walked away with a 2-0 win over Vegetarianos in Equatorial Guinea.
This saw Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane opt to rotate his squad as he brought in Kennedy Mweene among others, while Rivaldo Coetzee was forced to settle for a place on the bench, despite him starting the last two games.
Although, Sundowns held the advantage, that did not diminish their hunger as Brockie almost built on the goal that he scored in Equatorial Guinea.
The New Zealander found himself on the end of an impressive move, but he failed to find the target with his drive from just outside the box.
However, minutes later, Brockie was not to be denied as he made no mistake from close range. Good work on the wing by Gaston Sirino and Themba Zwane as they set up Brockie to score his third goal of the season in all competitions with just four minutes played.
It was wave after wave of Sundowns attack, and the away side’s defence was kept consistently on their toes. Themba Zwane too had a chance of his own to find the back of the net but his effort was kept out by the post before Brockie had his effort cleared off the line.
Sundowns may have only banged in 14 goals in 11 games in the league, but the Caf Champions League seemed to be a whole other ball game as Sirino made it 2-0 with 18 minutes played, albeit following bizarre circumstances.
Vegetarianos’ captain handled the ball after he thought he was fouled, but the referee believed otherwise and awarded a penalty to Sundowns which added salt to the wounds of the Equatorial Guinean-based outfit.
Meanwhile, with the half-time whistle looming Sirino was dazzling his way into the box and missed two chances in quick succession. It would matter little though as they took a 2-0 lead into the break.
With Sundowns returning for the second half, Mosimane decided to rest Brockie, bringing on the more mobile Jose Ali Meza, but it was at the back where a lapse in concentration saw Sundowns concede their first goal of the campaign.
Seydou Sall showed great composure to not only hold off the Sundowns defence, but placed the ball beyond Mweene. The goal was the 11th that Sundowns conceded this season, and Mosimane would be deeply disappointed as Vegetarianos gave themselves a glimmer of hope.
But almost immediately, Meza had an opportunity to restore the Brazilians’ two-goal advantage, but again a chance went begging as his header missed the target.
Nonetheless, Kekana led by example as just before the hour-mark he took it upon himself to rifle home from outside the box.
With the two-goal advantage restored, the Sundowns technical team used it as the ideal opportunity to give Anthony Laffor some much-needed game time.
Laffor added an extra attacking bite down the right, it was from the other end where Sundowns netted their fourth goal of the night. Great work by Zwane saw Meza on hand to score his first Caf Champions League goal in Sundowns’ colours.
It could have been a lot more had Mosa Lebusa’s header not have crashed against the woodwork minutes later from a corner kick.
While Sundowns were in a comfortable position, the tempo of the game dropped. This was until Lakay came close with a shot from distance and substitute Toni Silva had his goal-bound shot cleared on the line.
But the demolition job was not done as yet as Lakay finally got his name on the scoresheet with a comfortable effort ensuring that Vegetarianos would make the journey home on the back of a huge 7-1 defeat on aggregate.