Johannesburg - Five games, five wins!
Mamelodi Sundowns ensured they socially distanced themselves from Orlando Pirates in 2021 after completing their fifth successive win over the Buccaneers with a 4-1 drubbing of Pirates at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday night.
There was a time when Pirates seemed to be in this match, especially in the first half. But goals from Themba Zwane, Peter Shalulile and a brace by Pavol Safranko in the second half helped Sundowns to victory.
Pirates’ biggest problem was their ability to defend set-pieces. Lyle Lakay whipped in a telling free-kick that found Shalulile, who put it down for Themba Zwane, who then tapped home. Safranko doubled the tally, heading home from a well-weighted corner-kick.
But the floodgates opened as Safranko got his second after Africa Cup of Nations bound referee Victor Gomes allowed for the play to continue when Shalulile was fouled by Siyabonga Mpontshane. Shalulile completed the rout, heading home a Lyle set-piece.
In stoppage time, it was a case of too little, too late, as Fortune Makaringe pulled one back for Pirates after being set-up by substitute Gabadinho Mhango.
A milestone goal for Mshishi 🤩— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) December 17, 2021
𝐅![CDATA]>𝐈![CDATA]>𝐅![CDATA]>𝐓![CDATA]>𝐘 𝐆![CDATA]>𝐎![CDATA]>𝐀![CDATA]>𝐋![CDATA]>𝐒 in the colours of Sundowns - Only Surprise Moriri and Daniel Mudau have scored more goals than him for the club👏
📺 Stream live: https://t.co/0BMWdeEYT3 | #DStvPrem pic.twitter.com/uRA4bGCk8L
And that was all Pirates had to show for their efforts despite a vigorous fight in the opening stages of the match.
In the bigger scheme of things, this win ensured that the Brazilians extended their unbeaten run to 17 matches since the start of the campaign, and are now 18 points ahead of second-placed Kaizer Chiefs, who still have two games in hand before the festive break.
There’s no stopping Peter Shalulile in front of goal 🔥— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) December 17, 2021
He is the only in the #DStvPrem to have scored 13 or more goals in each of the last three seasons.
📺 Stream live: https://t.co/0BMWdeEYT3 pic.twitter.com/55ZfsE0NVE
While the league might have been sent into disarray by the impact of Covid-19, following the detection of the new Omicron variant, Sundowns’ depth has been working for them.
And one of the players that has stood out is Andile Jali, who protected his back four while their forward players found their footing in the game.
And, as soon as the attacking players found their feet, Pirates’ ship would be torpedoed and sunk in the second half.
Sure, this was a top of the table clash, given the fact that Sundowns came into this game at the top of the table, while Pirates were third. But Sundowns looked a class apart. In fact, they are more than that, they’re on a whole different level.