Absa Premiership

'Downs start CAF campaign with Setif win

2016-06-20 08:50
Pitso Mosimane (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns beat ES Setif 2-0 in the first Group B clash of their CAF Champions League campaign on Saturday evening.

Sundowns started the game the brighter of the two sides and held on to possession for lengthy spells before the home side, against the run of play, nearly found the opening goal through teenager forward Ismail Saidi's snap-shot.

The game was far from enthralling and lacked many noteworthy goalscoring opportunities, but the deadlock was broken mid-way through the half in spectacular fashion.

Completely against the run of play after Setif had a period of sustained pressure by keeping the ball away from the Brazilians - Tiyane Mabunda produced a moment of magic.

The midfielder, who only recently won a place in Pitso Mosimane's starting line-up after being out of favour for nearly two seasons, unleashed a left-footed strike from 25-yards out, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance.

Wayne Sandilands and the organised defence, marshalled by Wayne Arednse and Thabo Nthethe, kept the home side at bay for the remainder of the half despite the home fans rallying passionately behind their side.

El Kahla started the second half with much more urgency and Downs suffered a major blow during that period as the impressive Asavela Mbekile was stretchered off barely two minutes in.

However, the South Africa international soldiered on despite being in clear discomfort.

Keagan Dolly looked to be the Brazilians' main attacking outlet on the counter during their spell on the back-foot, while Khama Billiat played isolated from the pack as the furthest man forward.

Mosimane's tactics of containing the Algerian side looked quite effective as it clearly frustrated the home side, forcing them into long-range efforts and poorly executed free-kicks.

Just as the the opener was scored against the run of play through a moment of individual brilliance - Billiat proved why he was voted the Premiership Player of the Season.

The tactic of Dolly bringing the ball out quickly to the Zimbabwean forward worked perfectly - as he picked the ball up wide on the left touchline before turning his marker inside out. 

The former Ajax man then dropped his shoulder to ghost past the next defender before slotting home his side's second of the evening beyond the onrushing Setif goalkeeper for his 15th of the season.

Sundowns continued to frustrate the home side as they started lashing out at Billiat with off-the-ball fouls, while fans let off flares before exiting the ground minutes before the end of regulation time. A large section of their fans then infiltrated the pitch, destroying advertising boards.

The fans who left early didn't miss much as the South African side went on the secure a memorable victory on the road despite the game being momentarily delayed by the pitch invasion.

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