Downs charge into CAF final

2016-09-25 05:49
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo Images)

This was a good week for Mamelodi Sundowns as they managed to get themselves to two cup finals. Last night’s victory in the CAF Champions League followed their narrow 1-0 victory over Chippa United on Wednesday at the same venue, which booked them a place in the MTN8 final against Bidvest Wits.

Football games last for 90 minutes, but this one was over within five minutes as Sundowns booked their place in the final of the CAF Champions League.

A goal in the fifth minute by Anthony Laffor would have been enough to send the Zambian side packing as the Brazilians needed just one strike to secure the final spot. Thanks to their away goal last weekend, Sundowns did not have to score more goals here last night.

A slender lead was never a guarantee, especially against a formidable side like Zesco, who meant business. But Percy Tau’s second-half goal put the final nail in the coffin as Sundowns emerged victorious with two goals to zero.

The visitors might not have scored, but they made life difficult for Sundowns, who were made to sweat for their victory. The Zambians were eager to spoil the party, but it was not to be as the home side hung on for their win.

Downs had many chances but fluffed a lot of them, as always. And they were living dangerously at the back with Zesco searching for the all-important away goal, but they came second best on the night.

Keagan Dolly was the main culprit in the first half when he passed the ball to Zesco goalkeeper Jacob Banda with goals at his mercy.

But Sundowns were worthy winners on the night as they took their chances, while Zesco would feel hard done by as they struggled to reproduce the same kind of performance they showed last weekend in front of their supporters. They were particularly unhappy with Tau’s goal, arguing he should have been flagged for an offside.

But they did not do enough at the opposite side to warrant a win and their game was concentrated in the middle of the park. They only had two shots at goals throughout the match and, frankly, did not deserve to go through to the final.

Pitso Mosimane’s side did not show any signs of fatigue, despite playing five games in 13 days. They started their journey with an away trip to Nelson Mandela Bay, where they met Chippa in the first leg of the MTN8 before trips to Pietermaritzburg and Ndola in Zambia against Maritzburg United and the same Zesco side, respectively, last weekend.

Sundowns’ boss Patrice Motsepe will be happy with what he witnessed here as his players gave their all to hoist the South African flag high.

The Brazilians have been good ambassadors for the country as they used their lifeline following their reinstatement in the tournament.

After this infamous victory, Sundowns will not have time to savour the moment as they will now shift their focus to the MTN8 final on Saturday, where they meet Bidvest Wits at Mbombela Stadium.

They will also have to play catch-up games in the league programme as they have fallen behind with just one game under their belt, while most clubs have already played four.

Sundowns win 3-2 on aggregate


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