Downs trash Al Hilal to secure top spot

Mamelodi Sundowns defeated Al Hilal 4-2 despite being numerically disadvantaged in the CAF Champions League Group A match at the Al Hilal Stadium in Sudan on Saturday afternoon.

Therefore, Masandawana eased into the quarterfinals of Africa’s premier club tournament with a game to spare as group winners, while Sudanese champions Al Hilal remained third on the standings and they still have a chance to progress to the knockout phase.

The Blue Wave would have been wary of Peter Shalulile, who had scored in three successive matches for Masandawana. It took just two minutes for the in-form striker to hand Sundowns a 1-0 lead when he beat goalkeeper Mohamed Abooja with a low strike from inside the hosts’ box.

However, Sundowns were reduced to 10 players after Brian Mandela was shown a straight red card after denying Eid Mugadam a clear goalscoring opportunity. Mohamed Abdelrahman then placed the resultant free-kick which was on the edge of Masandawana’s box over the crossbar.

Despite being numerically disadvantaged Masandawana continued to attack and they were awarded a free-kick in Al Hilal’s half. Teboho Mokoena beat Abooja with a fierce shot from set-piece to double Sundowns’ lead in the 30th minute and they were leading 2-0 at the interval with keeper Reyaad Pieterse having pulled off a fabulous save to deny Abdelrhman in first half stoppage time.

The Blue Wave were determined to level matters after the restart and they managed to pull one back from Yasil Mozamil. The substitute was afforded space and time to shoot – beating Pieterse with a low shot to make it 2-1 11 minutes into the second half as the hosts fought back.

However, Al Hilal’s defence looked vulnerable whenever they pushed forward and they were punished by Thapelo Morena. The speedster was sent through on goal by Lesedi Kapinga’s long ball and he volleyed the ball home to make it 3-1 to Sundowns on the hour-mark.

This goal killed Al Hilal’s momentum at this point and Sundowns surged forward in the latter stages of the game and extended their lead. Neo Maema set up Morena, who completed his brace with a low shot to make it 4-1 to Sundowns with a minute left on the clock.

The hosts were awarded a penalty in stoppage time after Pieterse was adjudged to have fouled Abdelrahman in the visitors’ box. Pieterse made amends by denying Abdelrahman from the spot-kick, but Osman Mokhtar scored from the rebound and the match ended in a 4-2 win in favour of Sundowns.

Al Hilal (0) 2 (Mozamil 56′, Mokhtar 90’+3)

Sundowns (2) 4 (Shalulile 2′, Mokoena 30′, Morena 60, 89′)

TEAMS:

Al Hilal:Abooja, Abdallah, Ouattara, Wadah, Ajagun, Mutwakil, Khedr (Mozamil 29′), Abdelrahman, Mustapha (Uromi 64′), Mugadam, Siddig (Mokhtar 75′).

Mamelodi Sundowns:Pieterse, Lakay, B.Onyango, De Reuck, Morena, Jali (Ralani 73′), Mokoena, Domingo (Maboe 62′), Kapinga (Maema 62′), Zwane (Kekana 16′), Shalulile (Vilakazi 73′).©Backpage TXT

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