Safranko snatched a brace inside the last 20 minutes when he slotted in a loose ball in the area with the Buccaneers left for dead in defence
By KickOff And Soccer Laduma
The Mamelodi Sundowns juggernaut kept rolling forward on Friday with a dominant 4-1 victory over Orlando Pirates in their DStv Premiership clash at Loftus Versfeld.
Themba Zwane, Pavol Safranko, with a brace, and Peter Shalulile were all on target for Masandawana, who now have 13 wins and four draws from 17 matches played this season.
A fifth consecutive league title looks like a mere formality for the Tshwane club, establishing an 18-point lead over nearest rivals Kaizer Chiefs.
The defending champions started brightly and Thapelo Morena had the first chance of the game, but he volleyed over the over from a Lyle Lakay cross. Dean Hotto had an opportunity to give the Buccaneers the lead, but the forward pulled his left-footed effort wide.
In the 36th minute, Shalulile was played in by Andile Jali, but the forward stumbled after a challenge by Pirates defender Bandile Shandu and hit the shot wide of goal.
Pirates would have been the happier of the teams as the game remained goalless going into the halftime break.
It all changed after the interval though, as Sundowns added four goals in a dominant half of football.
The home side opened the scoring in the 51st minute when Lakay floated a free-kick into the box that found the head of Shalulile, who headed across to allow a simple tap-in for Zwane. It was a landmark goal for the midfielder as it was his 50th strike for the Brazilians.
The lead was doubled 10 minutes later, and it was from another set-piece, as Lakay whipped in a corner that saw substitute Safranko send a powerful header past Pirates goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane.
It was 3-0 after 73 minutes after Zwane played a through ball to Shalulile, who Mpontshane took down but Safranko was on hand to finish and complete his brace.
Shalulile scored the game’s fourth goal in the 76th minute, with Lakay completing a hat-trick of assists, the left-footer again finding the forward on the far-post who made no mistake finding the back of the net.
Fortune Makaringe scored a consolation goal for the Buccaneers in injury time, but the Soweto club remain third in the standings, one point behind Chiefs.
Mamelodi Sundowns thrashed Orlando Pirates 4-1 to move 18 points clear at the top of the DStv Premiership standings on Friday evening.
There were no less than three changes from Pirates as Ntsako Makhubela, Goodman Mosele and Ben Motshwari returned to the midfield, while Masandawana had just a single switch in defender Ricardo Nascimento.
The runaway league leaders looked to settle first after a ball in from the left-side by Lyle Lakay saw Thapelo Morena side-foot over target from the back-post of the area.
However, the Buccaneers responded to the threat moments apart when Deon Hotto flashed a left-footed strike from the near side wide after stepping into a pass from Thembinkosi Lorch.
Sundowns still worked chances inside the latter stages of the first half as Peter Shalulile watched a toe-poke from a goal-mouth scramble go narrowly wide following a corner-kick.
The Brazilians were dealt a set-back a minute before halftime when Grant Kekana pulled up with a knee injury, with the Sundowns coaching staff opting for the introduction of Pavol Safranko.
Masandawana though got rewarded for their first-half dominance when Shalulile pulled a free-kick from Lakay across goal which Themba Zwane attacked to slot in from close-range.
Pirates‘ hopes of a comeback experienced more woes with 61 minutes played after Safranko leaped in the area to head home Lakay’s pin-point corner.
Safranko snatched a brace inside the last 20 minutes when he slotted in a loose ball in the area with the Buccaneers left for dead in defence.
The Buccaneers were cut to pieces again this as another sharp delivery 73 minutes in from Lakay met Shalulile, who headed into the top corner from an unmarked position at the far post.
Pirates found a consolation in the dying minutes when Fortune Makaringe curled a loose ball from the edge of the area into the top corner, but it proved little as the night belonged to Masandawana.
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