Cape Town - Mamelodi Sundowns are through to the quarter-finals of the CAF Champions League after beating Algerian side USM Alger 2-1 in a Group C clash in Pretoria.
While the home side didn't have talented young midfielder Sphelele Mkhulise to rely on after he suffered an injury against Wits on Tuesday, they did welcome back playmaker Gaston Sirino.
The Uruguayan was soon back in the thick of the action after collecting an early long ball from Denis Onyango and teeing up Themba Zwane, whose shot was snuffed out.
Sundowns were constantly probing throughout the first half and deservedly went ahead with 10 minutes to go when Thapelo Morena headed into an empty net from out wide.
Somewhat against the run of play and with just one minute to go in the half, the visitors got back on level terms when Aymen Mahious took full advantage of some poor defending to score with a header of his own.
But Sundowns would be back in front within seconds after launching an impressive flowing attack from the restart that was finished off by Sibusiso Vilakazi to give them a 2-1 lead at the break.
The hosts were happy to protect their lead in the second half, with the likes of defender Tebogo Langerman and goalkeeper Onyango proving equal to the task.
But all their hard work appeared to be for naught when goal scorer Vilakazi conceded a penalty in the area in the final five minutes.
The Algerians could not take advantage of the opportunity, however, as Mohamed Meftah fired his shot into the crossbar to let Sundowns off the hook and send them into the last eight.
- TeamTalk Media