Defending league champions Mamelodi Sundowns made their intentions of retaining their title very clear from the onset, with a flawless display on Saturday as they started their new campaign with an easy victory over rivals Kaizer Chiefs.
Deadly sharpshooters Peter Shalulile and Kermit Erasmus, who decided to “chencha dai deng” in the transfer window and join the Brazilians, were instrumental as their team walloped Amakhosi yesterday afternoon.
Shalulile was signed from Highlands Park and Erasmus from Cape Town City.
The defending league champions started their DStv Premiership campaign on a positive note, largely thanks to their newcomers.
As for Chiefs, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Sundowns continued to show their superiority over the Glamour Boys, from whom they snatched the league title not so long ago.
A convincing 3-0 victory at FNB Stadium reminded everyone why Sundowns won the treble and Chiefs walked away empty-handed last season and extended their trophyless run.
One can say it was a three-versus-one tactical battle on the touchline between Gavin Hunt and Sundowns’ trio of Manqoba Mngqithi, Rhulani Mokwena and Steve Komphela.
The “tres amigos” had too much ammunition for Hunt, after club president Patrice Motsepe went on a major shopping spree that brought in 12 new players.
Chiefs, on the other hand, have not been able to buy a single player because of their transfer ban handed down by Fifa.
In the end, it was Sundowns’ quality recruits who did the damage. This was the response the team was looking for after their shock 1-0 loss to Bloemfontein Celtic in the MTN8 last weekend.
Amakhosi were simply outclassed. Chiefs’ blunt attack – led by Leonardo Cardoso, Bernard Parker and Khama Billiat – did little to trouble the solid opposition defence.
Many would argue that some of the Chiefs players have long passed their sell-by date, but the club is stuck with them, with no possibility of signing anyone new.
What will be concerning for the Chiefs technical team defence is its poor aerial presence.
Shalulile managed to jump higher than the taller Daniel Cardoso and head in the opening goal in the 37th minute.
Itumeleng Khune cut a lonely and frustrated figure between the sticks as his goalkeeping prowess could do nothing to stop the downpour. The onslaught was relentless and Downs could have scored a ton of goals.
Some great interplay inside the box from Themba Zwane and Erasmus led to the second goal. Erasmus took a snapshot to score from the edge of the box after a rebound from a Zwane shot fell kindly for him.
Masandawana will be happy to see Zwane, the PSL footballer of the season, combining early with the sharpshooting Erasmus. The striker used to trouble Sundowns as an opposition forward for the Citizens and now he’s getting the job done for them.
Another newcomer, George Maluleka, made his debut against his former club Chiefs. Maluleka was unceremoniously dumped by Chiefs in the later stages of last season after signing a pre-contract with his new employer.
The midfielder, who entered the match in the second half, came back to haunt his former team as he cunningly won a penalty for Sundowns after Khune lunged towards him.
Zwane stepped up to score the third and final goal in the 89th minute.
. In Limpopo, the “coachless” Baroka FC pulled off a 2-1 win over Maritzburg United at Peter Mokaba Stadium.
Goals from Richard Mbulu and Nhlanhla Mgaga were enough to give Bakgakga an edge over The Team of Choice, with José Alí Meza pulling one back.
Baroka coach Dylan Kerr remains suspended after his utterances about interference at the end of last season, and was absent from the bench. Assistant coaches Thoka Matsimela and Job Maphutha were on the bench.
. In the Free State, Bloemfontein Celtic and Golden Arrows drew 1-1. Ntsako Makhubela opened the scoring for Arrows, before Sepana Letsoalo equalised for the home side.