Sundowns put three past Chippa, but it could have been more
To put it bluntly, Mamelodi Sundowns made heavy weather of dispatching this modest Chippa United side despite running out 3-0 winners in Saturday's Absa Premiership match-up at Loftus.
Clearly the better side in terms of possession and chances created on this afternoon where they returned back to second spot on the Premiership standings, Sundowns could have embarrassed the opposition by a bigger margin.
They went to the break leading by a lone goal second-minute by defender Nicholus Lukhubeni but it could have been a lot more as Gaston Sirino, Sibusiso Vilakazi and Themba Zwane wasted numerous good opportunities.
Some of their misses were so disappointing that they tested the patience of their usually well-behaved fans and coach Pitso Mosimane, who shouted from his technical area in utter frustration.
At one stage, Sirino and Vilakazi found themselves inside the box but they dilly-dallied with short passes in front of the Chippa defenders before they were dispossessed, when taking responsibility with a shot seemed a better option.
After a frustrating first half, Downs got things right after the break with two goals in a space of five minutes from Zwane and Vilakazi to relieve some pressure and make sure that they remain relevant in this title race.
Zwane increased the lead from the penalty spot in the 59th minute after referee Jelly Chavani ruled that Chippa defender Sandile Mthethwa, who was given a red card in the process, brought down Vilakazi inside the box.
Five minutes later, the Brazilians put this match beyond doubt when Vilakazi beat Chippa goalkeeper Veli Mothwa to complete a delightful team move that started in their own half.
With these three points in the bag, Sundowns will turn their attention to Wednesday where they host Bloemfontein Celtic in the league as they continue to chase down runaway leaders Kaizer Chiefs.
For Chippa, who remain at the bottom half of the table, and their coach Norman Mapeza it is back to the drawing board and they will have to wait for the end of the month for their next league match against AmaZulu at home.
Sundowns started the match in promising style when defender Lukhubeni beat Chippa goalkeeper Mothwa after a brilliant solo run from inside his own half.
For the opening goal, Chippa defender Tercious Malepe misplaced his pass that was intercepted by Lukhubeni who ran half the ground on a solo run to give Sundowns the lead.
The little-known Lukhubeni, who was playing in his third league match for the Brazilians, was thrown into the deep end by Mosimane as a replacement for injured Anele Ngcongca.
Though they won, Mosimane will sweat on the fitness of No 1 goalkeeper Denis Onyango, who was replaced after 74 minutes by Kennedy Mweene as an injury precaution.
On a positive note for Mosimane in terms of his playing personnel, striker Ali Meza returned to action when he replaced Lebohang Maboe after a long injury lay-off in the second half.