They seemed to want to attack their own players and even turned on each other, using everything they could find as a weapon. Advertising boards were stripped and their metal supports were hurled during the disruption. Fans even damaged the equipment of the broadcasters, which resulted in a TV blackout during the chaos.
Tension started simmering in the second half as soon as Sundowns scored their fourth goal through Thapelo Morena. A section of Pirates fans behind the posts being defended by Downs’ Denis Onyango threw missiles and tried to force their way onto the pitch. When the sixth goal was scored, they invaded the playing area, and the players quickly dashed off the field.
The Pirates fans were baying for blood, and tried to storm the change rooms but were stopped. That’s when they turned on each other and the group of Sundowns fans who blocked access to the change rooms. Once the police entered the field, order was quickly restored: Security guards at the ground had earlier seemed unable to handle the pressure. This situation could have been avoided if prompt action had been taken after the early signs of unrest.
It started with a few missiles. Then fans removed the barrier that surrounds the pitch. Football became of secondary importance as lives were put at risk.
An ambulance arrived to nurse those who were injured.
Before the acts of hooliganism, the Brazilians had dominated by putting six past Jackson Mabokgwane. The Buccaneers dug their own grave as they looked to combat the Brazilians’ speed with force from James Okwuosa at centreback.
Sundowns’ responded with finesse, easily beating the burly Nigerian who was lucky to finish his debut for Pirates. Referee Daniel Bennett decided to put away the yellow card he had already pulled out after Okwuosa brought down Percy Tau inside the box. It would have been Okwuosa’s second yellow.
For Sundowns Khama Billiat was in his element, showing his class and grace as he toyed with Pirates’ defenders. He created the first two goals for Themba Zwane and Percy Tau. By the time the Brazilians scored the fourth goal it stopped being a contest. The Buccaneers were nowhere in the game and Sundowns made them pay.
The match resumed almost an hour after it was stopped because of the chaos that ensued. The players’ heart s weren’t in it though, and they just playing to fulfill the fixture.