It was a fine display in Suwon and the players looked to have stepped up a gear in terms of both performance and fitness. Slick and pacy attacks proved the undoing of Sundowns - not to mention some clinical finishing.
Martin rang the changes with seven made from the team that featured against Boca Juniors on Saturday. There was a familiar name in the Sundowns line-up, one Peter Ndlovu of Coventry City fame is now plying his trade in the Rainbow Nation.
The early sparring of the first couple of minutes was fairly closely contested, not the explosive beginning of the the other night. A combination of Peter Ndlovu and Mangoba Ngwenya nearly had the alarm bells ringing and it took Erik Edman to make the vital interception on four minutes to prevent a clear shot on goal. At the other end there was a mild scare for Sundowns when Wayne Routledge slipped the ball through for Fredi Kanoute, but the striker's finish swerved wide of the post.
Ndlovu was clearly the principal threat in the early stages but on ten minutes a handling error from keeper Brian Baloyi from an Andy Reid set piece nearly led to an opening with Kanoute's downward header just failing to find the feet of Calum Davenport in front of goal.
On 17 minutes Kanoute was again in the thick of the action after being cleverly offered a run on goal by a Reid through ball. He was forced to the left of the area and his attempt on goal drifted wide.
Davenport was looking very positive with his play out from the back, his passing and defending having a composed look to it, while Wayne Routledge appeared to be the one likely to provide the 'wow-factor' when he took possession of the ball.
There was another superb challenge from Edman to deny Josta Shimane Dladla a fine goalscoring opportunity on 26 minutes, his anticipation in support of his central defenders first class.
Sundowns' resistance was broken on 35 minutes when a brilliant lofted through ball from Tom Huddlestone caught their defence flat-football and Robbie Keane was given the freedom of the penalty area before cooly rounding Baloyi and slotting the ball into an empty net to make it 1-0.
It could have been two three minutes later when Reid split the defence once again and Kanoute was put through on the charge. He did have company however and, after attempting to round the keeper, his effort hit the outside of the net.
Keane then nearly got his second when he latched onto Routledge's brilliantly measured pass and lofted the ball goalwards over keeper Baloyi, but Benson Mhlongo managed to retreat in time to scoop the ball away from goal.
Pedro Mendes made way for Teemu Tainio at the break but it was Sundowns who came out firing with Ngwenya flashing a shot just wide of Cerny's right hand post. A minute later it took a brave lunge by Gardner to deny Ndlovu an almost certain goal from about nine yards.
Despite the pressure at the wrong end, the advantage was doubled on 50 minutes when Tainio unlocked the Sundowns' defence to send Routledge darting away at speed. His powerful drive was saved by Baloyi, but he was unable to hold on and the ball fell to Kanoute who brought it under control and drilled low into the bottom right hand corner.
The scoreline began to take on an emphatic look after 56 minutes when a sliced clearance was kept in the danger area by Kanoute. Like lightning, Keane pounced on the loose ball and smashed it past Baloyi to make it 3-0 with his second of the game.
Aaron Lennon was introduced with just under half an hour remaining for Reid, giving our attack another exciting dimension with Routledge zipping down the right to great effect.
Mexican waves were swirling round the stadium as the game entered the final 15 minutes - the ground might not have been full at 18,312 but certainly making a noise.
The excitement levels escalated again when Routledge slipped Keane through and it looked like another goal was about to be recorded but his snapshot cannoned out off the underside of the bar.
Sundowns made the most of the let-off when Lerato Chabangu picked up the ball to the left of the area and fired in low past Cerny to make it 3-1 with 13 minutes left on the clock.
It was nearly 3-2 on 81 minutes when Acevedo squared into the path of Chabangu who looked certain to score until Cerny threw himself across goal to deny another goal. The Czech was then alert again to smother an Ndlovu header. There was some sustained late pressure as Sundowns sought a way back into the game, but the lads stood firm and emerged with the spoils. Keane was even denied a hat-trick by a late flag from the assistant referee.
With a 3-1 victory banked in Group B we now head to Ulsan to take on Real Sociedad and hopefully ensure progress back to Seoul for the final.
Team: Cerny, Kelly, Edman, Davenport, Gardner, Routledge, Huddlestone (Marney 89), Mendes (Tainio 45), Reid (Lennon 62), Keane, Kanoute (El-Hamdaoui 79). Subs from: Fulop, Burch, Bunjevcevic, King, Yeates, Carrick, Marney, Defoe, Mido.
Robbie Keane and Fredi Kanoute secured a 3-1 victory in our second Peace Cup game against Sundowns of South Africa.