Peter Shalulile scored an unprecedented second successive hat-trick in the DStv Premiership as Mamelodi Sundowns thrashed Golden Arrows 6-0 at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
The result sees the Brazilians open a 14-point lead over nearest chasers Royal AM (who have played a game less) as they close in on a fifth successive league title, while Abafana Bes’thende suffered a second successive defeat to remain in ninth spot – outside of the top half on goal difference.
The match also marked both the biggest win of the season in the Premiership and Arrows’ heaviest ever defeat.
Sundowns offered up the first threat on goal seven minutes into the game, with Gaston Sirino spotting Arrows goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede off his line and trying a long-range shot which drifted just wide of the target.
Arrows spurned a good chance to go ahead on 11 minutes when a swift counter attack put Knox Mutizwa into space behind the defence, but rather than shoot himself the striker looked for a square pass to find Siboniso Conco, only for ‘Downs goalkeeper Denis Onyango to smother the ball.
Sundowns then claimed the lead on 19 minutes, with Sirino coolly turning the ball home from close range into an almost unguarded net. The goal was created by an excellent diagonal from George Maluleka and a downward header from Mosa Lebusa – as well as Gumede being caught off his line in trying to intercept.
The Brazilians made it 2-0 in the 24th minute through an unmarked Peter Shalulile, who easily scored with a close-range header from Lyle Lakay’s corner kick delivery.
On 27 minutes the hosts made it 3-0 through a brilliant exchange of passes, ending with Themba Zwane squaring for Shalulile to sweep home from the middle of the penalty area.
The goal was the Namibian’s 20th of the league season, making him the first player to reach that mark since the great Siyabonga Nomvethe for Moroka Swallows 10 years ago.
Sundowns eased off the throttle in the remainder of the first half, allowing the interval to arrive with their lead at 3-0. The second stanza opened with a triple change from Abafana Bes’thende, who swapped out Lungelo Dube, Conco and Mutizwa in favour of Velemseni Ndwandwe, Motebang Sera and Lindokuhle Mtshali.
The changes initially brought an improvement in attacking play from the visitors, though they were soon dealt an injury blow when key defender Nkosinathi Sibisi was forced off and replaced by Trevor Mathiane.
And Sundowns took full advantage of the uncertainty in the Arrows backline, with an error from Thabani Zuke ruthlessly punished by Shalulile, who steered home a left-footed shot to make it 4-0 and complete his hat-trick a few minutes after the hour mark.
The Tshwane heavyweights scored goal No 5 in the 74th minute, with one substitute, Lebohang Maboe, helping to set up another, Pavol Safranko, to sweep home a low shot past the right hand of Gumede.
And another sub wrapped up the scoring in the 85th minute, with Kermit Erasmus having the ball fall kindly for him in the penalty area before striking home with the right foot to make it 6-0.
Sundowns are set to return to DStv Premiership action on 27 April when they host Cape Town City, while Arrows’ next league clash is at home to Sekhukhune United on 23 April.
MAMELODI SUNDOWNS (3) 6 (Sirino 19’, Shalulile 24’ 27’ 63’, Safranko 74’, Erasmus 85’)
GOLDEN ARROWS 0
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