Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns were at their ruthless best as the romped to a 3-0 win over 10-man Chippa United at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Nicholus Lukhubeni fired the hosts in front after just two minutes of play, before Themba Zwane and Sibusiso Vilakazi added their names to the scoresheet after the half-time break.
Sundowns started the first half on the front foot, bombing forward as they went in search of an early breakthrough.
It didn't take them long to get their noses in front as full-back Lukhubeni made a surging run from the halfway line, before arrowing a left-footed shot into the bottom-right corner from the edge of the box.
Buoyed by the early goal, Sundowns kept up the pressure and went agonisingly close to notching a second goal when Gaston Sirino struck the woodwork with a dipping volley.
And the chances continued to flow for the home side, with Zwane firing high and wide before team-mate Lebohang Maboe saw his powerful shot crash against the underside of the crossbar.
Chippa eventually managed a response on the half-hour mark, but Ruzaigh Gamildien failed to make Sundowns pay as he fired straight into the grateful arms of goalkeeper Denis Onyango.
Sundowns created one more chance of note as the first half drew to a close, but Maboe failed to hit the target as he fired a curling effort just wide of the post.
The Chilli Boys had one more chance of their own, but it came to nothing as Onyango managed to recover after nearly being caught out by Silas Maziya's cross-cum-shot.
Sundowns started the second half as they started the first, putting the Chippa defence under intense pressure.
Vilakazi very nearly doubled the hosts' lead in the 49th minute with a flicked shot, but Chippa 'keeper Veli Mothwa was quick to react and snuff out the danger.
It was Hlompho Kekana's turn next, with the veteran seeing his long-range strike somehow kept out by Mothwa.
However, the sustained period of pressure finally took its toll on Chippa in the 56th minute as Sandile Mthethwa brought down Vilakazi in the danger area with a clumsy challenge, leaving the referee with no other option but to point to the penalty spot.
Mthethwa appeared to have avoided a caution, but the referee must have heard something from the defender because he quickly turned to brandish the red card, leaving Chippa to battle for the rest of the encounter with 10 men.
Zwane stepped up to take the spot kick and calmly slotted the ball home, sending Mothwa the wrong way.
Chippa were still reeling from the goal and the sending off when 'Downs struck again two minutes later with Sirino latching onto Zwane's perfectly weighted through-ball before teeing up Vilakazi for an easy tap-in.
And with the result of the contest all but decided, Sundowns eased up in the final 20 minutes.
Sirino forced Mothwa into action in the 78th minute following a well worked team move, while Lukhubeni went close to bagging a second in injury-time as Sundowns cruised to a deserved victory, moving them up to second place in the Absa Premiership standings in the process.
- TeamTalk Media