Mamelodi Sundowns cruised into the next round of the Caf Champions League after claiming a comfortable 7-1 aggregate victory over Leones Vegetarianos in the preliminary round, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.
The Brazilians came into this encounter full of confidence after claiming a 2-0 victory over Leones in the first leg last week through goals from Jeremy Brockie and Themba Zwane.
Pitso Mosimane’s have won three of their last five games in all competitions, while they are unbeaten in their last six Caf Champions League home games.
Sundowns got off to the perfect start and broke the deadlock as early as the first minute when Jeremy Brockie found the net with a clinical finish after latching on to a pass from Gaston Sirino.
The home side nearly doubled their lead four minutes later when Lebohang Maboe played Themba Zwane through on goal, but the winger fired his effort against the woodwork.
Sirino made it 2-0 after 18 minutes when he showed his composure to find the back of the net from a free kick, 2-0.
Sundowns should have extended their lead even further, but Sirino failed to hit the net from close range following great buildup play by the Tshwane outfit.
The home side held on to their 2-0 lead over Leones as the game went into the half-time interval.
The visitors wasted no time early in the second half and pulled a goal back through Sall.
Sundowns responded nine minutes later with a goal of their own when captain Hlompho Kekane was left with acres of space outside the box to fire a thunderous effort into the back of the net.
Mosimane’s side then made it 4-1 on the hour after Zwane tore up the Leones defence as he made his way past two defenders to pick out Jose Ali Meza, who was left unmarked to calmly slot the ball home.
Anthony Laffor should have put his name on the scoresheet in the 64th minute, but the Sundowns forward’s effort deflected out for a corner.
Sundowns left-back Lyle Lakay had a chance of his own with eight minutes left to play when he produced a strike at goal, but his effort was unable to find the target as it sailed wide of the post.
Toni Silva nearly extended the home side’s lead two minutes later after some great interplay between Sirino and Zwane, who teed up Silva, but the forward’s effort was cleared off the line to keep the scoreline at 4-1.
However, Sundowns were not done yet as Sirino darted down the flank before pulling the ball back for Lakay, who guided the ball past the keeper.
Sundowns held on to their 5-1 lead over Leones until the final whistle to book their place in the next round of the Caf Champions League.