Sundowns were ahead as early as the sixth minute when the hardworking Percy Tau’s persistence saw him gain possession of the ball and drill a low shot into the net.
It was a great goal which set the tone for the Pretoria club as they proceeded to dominate the opposition.
The current African champions continued to turn on the style and it was no surprise when they increased their advantage in the 13th minute when Liberian attacker Anthony Laffor scored to make it 2-0.
Four minutes later, Sundowns could have gone further ahead when Hlompho Kekana struck a trademark powerful shot goalwards, but Highlands goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini produced a wonderful save to deny the Bafana Bafana man.
Sundowns were turning on the charm, playing with speed and skill, and Highlands were struggling to cope. Considering the pressure, something had to give, and it did in the 32nd minute when Sibusiso Vilakazi made it 3-0, stabbing the ball into the net from close range.
And, five minutes later, it was 4-0. Again, it was the impressive Tau at the heart of the move, with his pass creating the opening for Themba Zwane to score. Sundowns were in rampant form and poor Highlands were battling just to hang on. In fact, the PSL rookies were fortunate to go into the break at just 4-0 down – it could have been much more, that’s how superior Sundowns were.
Sundowns lost centre-back Ricardo Nascimento to injury in the 52nd minute, to be replaced by Thabo Nthethe, but not even that could deter the impressive Pretoria side. A minute later, it was 5-0, with the outstanding Tau’s industry forcing Highlands defender Rudi Isaacs to put the ball into his own net.
Chances continued to accrue, with Kekana, Zwane and Tau all going close, while Laffor had a great opportunity, but was foiled by another good save from Kapini.
Franklin Cale could have pulled one back for Highlands, unleashing a fantastic shot, but he was thwarted by a great save from Sundowns keeper Denis Onyango.
With Sundowns in cruise mode, they proceeded to play out the closing stages of the second half like a training session, playing keep ball against a hapless Highlands side.
Would you like to place a soccer bet? Click here to get started in 3 easy steps.