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LOBAMBA – Holders and two-time champions Young Buffaloes have made a strong statement about tightening their grip on the EswatiniBank Cup trophy.

Six unanswered goals propelled Dominic Kunene’s men into the Last 16 at the expense of Shiselweni Super League side Shooting Stars in the one-sided grand opening clash at Somhlolo National Stadium yesterday. Former Moneni Pirates’ striker Ndumiso ‘Karas’ Dlamini came out with a brace in the second half to match Vovovo’s trio of Mxolisi Tsabedze, Sibusiso Thwala and Celumusa Dlamini who celebrated two goals apiece against Burning Spear on Saturday.

He was on target in the 80th minute and then two minutes into stoppage time. His club had already been in cruise control in the match as by half time it was already 2-0. Defender Lindo Mkhonta scored their first goal in the 25th minute while striker Sanele Ngcamphalala received a defence-freezing pass from Wandile Maseko to finish off with a low shot into the net inside the box and made it 2-0.

After the break, Buffaloes added more goals, first through an own goal by defender Mlondi Mdluli whose deflection drove a left wing cross past his own goalkeeper. Lanky striker Phiwa Dlamini made it 4-0 in the 78th before Karas’ late brace. It could have been worse as Buffaloes missed an avalanche of chances. However, Stars did show glimpses of what made them qualify for this tournament but lacked in the final third. At the end, the security forces ensemble continued to nurse hopes of bagging a hat-trick of EswatiniBank Cup titles.

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