The match was dogged by disputes over the use of team benches, but when the game got underway, the fans were given full value for their money as both sides went for the kill to get early dominance.
Only the tactical nature of the game delayed the fireworks that were to come later on in the game as both sides felt each other out and probed for openings.
Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango was put under early pressure, including several infringements which seemed aimed at intimidating him. The same focus was put on Khama Billiat, who was the target of some strong tackles, but the tricky Zimbabwean showed that he was getting used to this kind of approach.
Onyango was called on to make a desperate dive to his right to clip the ball past the post for a corner in the early exchanges.
It took time for Sundowns to settle down, but once they did so, they threatened Ronwen Williams in the SuperSport goal.
Coach Pitso Mosimane had thrown into the deep end Brazilian centre back Ricardo Nascimento, and also had Lucky Mohomi and Ivorian Yannick Zakri on the bench, while Sibusiso Vilakazi was given his first official run.
Centre back Wayne Arendse put Sundowns in the lead following a goalmouth scramble in which the SuperSport defence was exposed. And once they had got the first goal, it did not matter that Morgan Gould and Clayton Daniels were putting in some tough tackles and rough play – Gould eventually was given a yellow card for a shove on Onyango – Sundowns pushed forward to get a second goal.
It was inevitable that there would be casualties as the sides went for each other, and the end result for Sundowns was the loss of Leonardo Castro, who was stretchered off with an ankle injury. The Columbian cut a lonely figure as he sat on the bench, having been replaced by Percy Tau.
However, it was SuperSport who brought on Kingston Nkhatha, the burly striker made sure of a pinpoint header in the corner to beat Onyango and give SuperSport the equaliser following a cross from Jeremy Brockie.
Sundowns kept their cool as they saw off the remaining minutes of the half, and the sides went into the break with the score level at 1 – 1.
At the resumption, it still looked like anybody’s game, but soon Sundowns began to gain the upper hand.
Williams was forced to make a desperate low dive to save what otherwise looked like a sure goal, leaving gasps of disbelief in the Sundowns fans. Captain Hlompho Kekana was probing for a long drive, and after several attempts, his perfect low drive was deflected into goal by Vilakazi, who took the shot fully on the proverbial chin.
In the lead once more, some brlliant interchanges between Kekana, Vilakazi, Dolly and Tau gave the SuperSport defence some anxious moments.
But the Brazilians knew that they needed another goal to finally deflate SuperSport’s ambitions. Onyango, who had strained a muscle on his thigh, soldiered on. Nascimento limped on following a tussle for the ball in which he came off the worst. Billiat and Dolly were victims of rough tackles, but were determined to get their side into the semi-finals.
The third goal came from some brilliant work on the right by Tau and Vilakazi, the latter unselfishly pushing the ball into the path of Billiat who turned a Supersport defender and got the ball to his right foot to curl the ball into the far corner. It was vintage Billiat.
Dolly was pulled off after another injury scare, and Lucky Mohomi was sent on. Mohomi was soon on a yellow card as he fought fire with fire, and the coach seemed to want to close shop and consolidate.
The battle had been won, and once more Sundowns emerged with bragging rights in the Tshwane derby, and once more the game provided goals aplenty. And when the final whistle went, Sundowns were comfortable winners.
Tau was voted Man of the Match, indicating his improvement in leaps and bounds.
At the end of the game, the draw for the semi-finals was conducted, and Sundowns were drawn against Chippa United who they will face in a two-leg test, with United getting the first leg home. The other semi-finalists are Bidvest Wits who were drawn home to Cape Town City FC .