Johannesburg - Goals from Anthony Laffor and Percy Tau saw
Mamelodi Sundowns win their CAF Champions League semi-final second leg 2-0
against ZESCO United to secure their place in the final.
The Brazilians were 2-1 losers in the first leg played in
Zambia, but claimed the all-important victory at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on
Saturday night, to set up a clash with one of Zamalek or Wydad Casablanca by
virtue of a 3-2 aggregate scoreline.
The match had barely begun when Laffor powered home from the
edge of the 18-yard area after five minutes. The tall striker put pressure on
Ayo Oluwafemi to steal the ball away after a good cross from Keagan Dolly from
the left-hand side had created the opportunity.
Downs stopper Denis Onyango had to be at his best to deny
Jesse Were from scoring a quick-fire equaliser on nine minutes as Simon
Silwimba did well to head clear under pressure from Khama Billiat from a good
Laffor cross from the right.
Billiat then fired a good central free-kick from 25 yards
just over the ZESCO goal as the hosts looked to extend their lead.
The visitors should have done better on 17 minutes when
Jackson Mwanza beat Onyango to the ball from a long forward pass, but his touch
was just too heavy as the ball bounced off the crossbar and over.
Laffor came agonisingly close to a second with a driven shot
that skimmed past the far post as Mwanza failed to wrap his foot around the
ball before shooting wide of the right-hand post moments later.
Jacob Banda was quick off his line to make an excellent save
from close range from Dolly as he picked up a Tau touch inside the box after a
world-class throughball from Billiat to release the player.
Samuel Mabunda smashed an unbelievable strike from at least
40 yards out that cannoned back out off the underside of the crossbar, but it
wouldn't have counted with two Sundowns players in an offside position.
Banda made a routine save from Billiat early in the second
half after some good approach play before Mwelwa fired well over from the edge
of the box.
Those misses for ZESCO were to prove costly as Sundowns
doubled their lead through a diving Tau header that ended up in the top
left-hand corner of the net. The diminutive Downs players was unmarked as he
powered home a pinpoint Langerman cross from the left-hand side.
For a brief moment in the second period, the visitors pegged
Sundowns back in their own half, but their route-one football wasn't paying
dividends as home defence coped well.
A fantastic sliding tackle from Ben Adama Bahn stopped Dolly
from getting on the scoresheet with the game winding down, and with the result
so nearly wrapped up, the home side slowed the game right down and kept
Their reward is a place in the final of the 2016 Champions
League, with the first leg scheduled for between the 14-16 October and the
second leg on 21-23 October 2016.