Anthony Laffor bagged a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over the University of Pretoria to clinch a seventh Absa Premiership title for Malemodi Sundowns at Tuks Stadium in Pretoria on Wednesday evening.
Like they did two years ago, Sundowns strolled past a Tshwane rival to wrap up the 2015/2016 league title with two games remaining. For AmaTuks, defeat is another blow to their chances of remaining in South Africa’s top flight. They now trailed Jomo Cosmos by four points following the Ezenkosi’s 2-2 draw in Cape Town.
Laffor started up front in place of the suspended Leonardo Castro and having made a huge impact in the run-in two years ago, the Liberia international again proved he is a man for the big occasion. With three minutes on the clock, AmaTuks failed to clear their lines as Laffor pounced to open the scoring.
The Brazilians’ attacker doubled his tally on the night with 20 minutes on the clock. Khama Billiat did all the spade work – the Zimbabwe international with a lung-busting run down the left flank before laying it on a platter for Laffor who poked home.
Sundowns continued their dominance after the break with Wayne Arendse and a rejuvenated Tiyani Mabunda going close for the visitors.
Laffor completed his treble in the 59th minute. Billiat was again the provider, slipping his teammate through on goal for an easy finish.
Chances were few and far between for AmaTuks with their best chance falling to Lennox Bacela late on. The veteran striker though guided his shot wide after piercing the visitors’ defence.
Sundowns suffered two defeats in their opening four fixtures of the season. With fans calling for coach Pitso Mosiamane’s head, Laffor ignited the turnaround with a stoppage time goal against Ajax Cape Town. Mosimane’s men would not lose another league game for six months – assembling a 19-game unbeaten run. A few hiccups followed, but Sundowns were always in control on their way to a second league title in three seasons.
The trophy will be handed over to the Brazilians at the Lucas Moripe stadium on Saturday, 21 May, following their clash against Platinum Stars.
On a personal note, the Liberian international has won his fourth league title in South African Football adding to the two he earlier won with Super Sports United.
Meanwhile, the Liberia Football Association through its President Musa Hassan Bility has sent a message of congratulations to the owner and players of Sundowns on their historic achievement.
Mr. Bility in a congratulatory message to the President and Owner of Sundowns said the Liberian FA share the joy of the club and wished the club well in its drive to conquer African club football. Mr. Bility praised the cordial ties subsisting between Liberia and Sundowns while looking forward for future collaboration. He said Liberia is pleased to have a talent such as Anthony Laffor contributing to the growth of football in South Africa. The LFA president hoped that the bond of friendship existing as a result of the tripartite relations among Liberia, Sundowns and Laffor will be further strengthened.