Mamelodi Sundowns strolled to an emphatic 8-1 win over La Passe FC in the second leg of the CAF Champions League second preliminary round on Friday night, sending a clear message of intent for the new season. Masandawana had as many as five different scorers on the night, Thapelo Morena, Haashim Domingo, Cassius Mailula and Neo Maema each scored once, Gift Motupa bagged twice and an own goal by the opposition.
The Brazilians handed goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse and midfielder Lebohang Maboe their first appearance of the season, while Moroccan international Abdelmounaim Boutouil made his debut. Downs wasted no time in opening the scoring, Morena got things going within 7 minutes, the pacey full back made an effortless finish against La Passe goalie, Dave Collin. Morena opened his scoring account for the season with his first goal, a pass from Gaston Sirino neatly made its way into the box, Morena placed it on his chest and put it at the back of the net.
La Passe continued playing with a low block to make it difficult for the Tshwane giants to penetrate into their last defensive line, forcing Masandawana to take shots from far. Maboe and Aubrey Modiba nearly saw their long range efforts being rewarded in goal as Collin made fine saves. Shortly after the half hour mark, the visitors found a way out of their own half and charged towards goal, a cross played in met with Florent Rajaoniasy in the box as he headed home and equalized for his side.
Celebrations for La Passe were cut short by Mailula who added Masandawana’s second goal a minute later to mark his first goal in the senior team. The 21-year old Limpopo born star displayed composure and skills in the box, beating the goalie after receiving a long pass from Sphelele Mkhulise. The Brazilians were not done with their scoring celebrations, Mailula was at the center of the action scoring his second goal in the encounter when the ball bounced off his chest from Modiba’s cross in the box.
Bafana Ba Style had a three-goal cushion at the break, dominating in possession with 66% to 34%. The second half started off with a chance at goal for Sundowns, Sirino was denied a goal from close range with the goalkeeper coming out to make the save. After 55 minutes of play, Downs made changes and brought in Haashim Domingo, Bradley Ralani and Neo Maema who replaced Sirino, Marcelo Allende and Maboe. Ten minutes later, Gift Motupa and Boutouil were introduced into the affair.
It didn’t take long for Downs to add another goal after the substitutions were made, Motupa got his name on the scoresheet not long after coming on. A superb assist from Maema who cut in with pace and broke through the line, displaying some outstanding footwork connected with Motupa as he netted his first first for the 2022-23 season. The action wasn’t done there, Domingo showed class to execute a goal in style and make his return to action known. Downs were showing no signs of easing off, another goal followed within a few minutes, Mosa Lebusa put the ball back in action with his head towards Maema who pounced on to the opportunity to register his name as well on goal scoring festivities.
La Passe tried to find a way back into the game, but without success, and before long another man in yellow had struck at goal. Mailula hit the ball into goal to mark a hattrick in the encounter, however his thundershot bounced off the goalkeeper for an own goal. The visitors had a chance to score another goal after winning a free kick, however the opportunity was not used up well.
As the clock hit 90 minutes and the referee added extra time, Downs continued to dominate, Motupa used his late chance to seal a brace, with a cool inside step finishing. Sundowns ended the game with an 8-1 victory and will prepare for the CAF Champions League Group Stages.
This is how we lined up: R. Pieterse, A. Modiba (65′ Boutouil), T. Morena, M. Lebusa ©, B. Zungu, M. Mvala, S. Mkhulise (65′ Motupa), C. Mailula, M. Allende (53′ Ralani), L. Maboe (53′ Maema), G. Sirino (53′ Domingo)
Subs: K. Mweene, A. Jali, A. Boutouil, K. Mudau, B. Ralani, N. Maema, H. Domingo, G. Motupa, N. Maema, T. Kutumela