PRETORIA – Mamelodi Sundowns clinched a record seventh Absa Premiership title with two matches to spare after they thumped University of Pretoria 3-0 at the Tuks Stadium on Wednesday night.
Liberian international Anthony Laffor, who won his second league title with the Brazilians to go with the three titles he won at SuperSport United, scored a hat trick on the night. The striker scored two goals in the first half, before bagging another goal just before the hour-mark to guide Sundowns to their 20th league win of the campaign.
At the other end of the table, 15th-placed Tuks find themselves in all sorts of trouble after the defeat. They are one point of ahead of bottom club Maritzburg United, but the KwaZulu-Natal side, who have shown a bit of form of late, have a game in hand over their rivals from Pretoria.
Sundowns only needed three points to claim the league title after their nearest rivals Bidvest Wits were held to a 2-2 draw by Mpumalanga Black Aces on Tuesday night.
There would have been a lot of nerves in the Brazilians’ camp before the match, but Laffor certainly calmed them when he opened the scoring by bundling the ball into the back of the net in the third minute of the match.
Sundowns’ talisman and one of the favourites for the PSL’s Player of the Year award, Khama Billiat, was in sublime form and he and Laffor were almost unstoppable as a combination on the night.
After showing terrific pace, Billiat tried to find Laffor with a lovely cross inside the area in the ninth minute. However, the Liberian forward just couldn’t get a touch on the ball to steer it home.
But it was only a matter of time before these two players would combine for Sundowns’ second. And it came in the 20th minute when Billiat skinned the Tuks defenders, before squaring the ball to Laffor to poke home his second.
Tuks were stunned into action by Laffor’s early goals, and created a few chances of their own to try and spoil the Brazilians’ party.
Khethukuhle Zwane fired a free kick from close range into the Sundowns wall in the 24th minute, before Partson Jaure tested Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango with a with a swerving ball into the box.
But Sundowns continued their dominance in the second half, and defender Wayne Arendse went close with a header in the 47th minute, while Tiyani Mabunda and Keagan Dolly shot wide with from long range soon after that.
Tuks had a rare chance in the 57th minute when Vuyisile Ntombayithethi shot over the top after a good turn. But the Sundowns fans started the party on the stand when Laffor scored his third goal in the 59th minute to make sure of the three points.
Thabo Mnyamane and Lennox Bacela had two more chances late in the second half for the home side, but nothing was going to stop Sundowns from bagging the title in emphatic fashion.