Mamelodi Sundowns 6-0 Mathaithai FC: Ruthless Masandawana ease into Nedbank Cup quarter-finals
Aubrey Modiba, Mamelodi Sundowns against Mathaithai FC, March 2022
Aubrey Modiba had a great game for the Tshwane giants and he walked away with the Man of the Match accolade after the Last 16 clash

Mamelodi Sundowns became the first team to progress to this season's Nedbank Cup quarter-finals after defeating Mathaithai FC 6-0 at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Bradley Ralani and Themba Zwane scored in the first half to hand Masandawana a two-goal lead, before Thabiso Kutumela (brace), Lebohang Maboe and Andile Jali netted after the restart to seal the PSL champions' well-deserved victory. 

Having registered their second defeat of the season across all competitions when they lost 2-1 to Maritzburg United in a PSL clash on Saturday, the Sundowns technical team made eight changes to the team which faced the Team of Choice. Zwane, Kutumela and Reyaad Pieterse were among the eight players, who were recalled to Masandawana's starting line-up.

The five-time Nedbank Cup champions were up against a Mathaithai side that had reached the Last 16 for the first time after eliminating fellow ABC Motsepe League outfit NC Professionals in the previous round. The Sebete Boys' attack was led by Ipeeleng Seepamore, who made four appearances in the PSL for the now-defunct Bloemfontein Celtic over a decade ago.

Masandawana started the match like a house on fire grabbing two quick goals within the first four minutes of the game. Ralani netted his second goal for the Tshwane giants since he joined the club from Cape Town City two months ago when he beat goalkeeper Mbali Tshabalala from a rebound after his initial shot was blocked - handing Sundowns a 1-0 lead just two minutes into the match.

Ralani was a constant threat to the Sebete Boys' defence and he provided the assist when the hosts doubled their lead two minutes later. The 34-year-old winger received a pass from Aubrey Modiba, before delivering a low cross from the right and stand-in captain Zwane who turned the ball home from close range to make it 2-0 to Sundowns with the visitors' defence caught ball watching.

The hosts then put their feet off the pedal and allowed Maithathai to launch a few attacks, but keeper Pieterse produced routine saves from shots taken by Moeketsi Sephiri, Sabata Manele and Lebohang Letsane.

Masandawana exerted pressure on the Sebete Boys after the restart and second-half substitute Kermit Erasmus was involved when Sundowns extended their lead to 3-0 in the 66th minute. The experienced forward's deflected shot hit the crossbar and Kutumela poked the ball home with the Mathaithai defence's marking exposed.

Having spent seven months on the sidelines due to a long-term injury, Maboe made an immediate impact after being introduced by the hosts. The Bafana Bafana international played a defence-splitting pass for Kutumela, who rounded on-rushing Tshabalala, before firing into an empty net to make it 4-0 to Sundowns in the 72nd minute. 

Maboe, who was looking sharp and hungry for goals, put his name on the score sheet in the 84th minute as he beat Tshabalala with a fierce shot from range to make it 5-0 to Sundowns. Not to be outdone, Jali also proved to be an inspired substitute as he sealed Sundowns' 6-0 emphatic win with two minutes left - hitting the back of the net with a thunderous shot.

Sundowns will now take on Pitso Mosimane's Egyptian football heavyweights, Al Ahly in the Caf Champions League Group A game on Saturday as they await the Nedbank Cup quarter-final draw which will be conducted later this month.