Cape Town - Mamelodi
Sundowns had an afternoon to forget after slumping to a 2-1 defeat at
the hands of Zesco United in the first leg of their CAF Champions League
tie in Ndolo on Saturday.
After a goalless first half, in which Zesco dominated the
shots-on-goal column, the match sprang to life nine minutes into the
Jackson Mwanza sent a glancing header into the bottom-left corner to
fire the hosts in front, before popping up again just one minute later
to bag his second of the game.
Sundowns redoubled their efforts in the closing stages of the
contest, and eventually pulled one back in the 86th minute, Khama
Billiat firing a curling effort in at the near post from the left side
of the box.
However, it was a case of too little, too late as Zesco held on to claim a vital win ahead of the return leg on September 24.
Boasting the home advantage, it was Zesco who looked more likely to find an early breakthrough following a bright start.
Jesse Were had a glorious opportunity to fire the hosts in front
after just two minutes of play, but fired wide of the mark from 15 yards
He was at it again just one minute later, beating the offside trap
before delaying his shot, allowing Thabo Nthethe to nip in and snuff out
Were was proving to be Zesco's danger man, and he again went close to
breaking the deadlock in the eighth minute. However, Ugandan keeper
Denis Onyango came to Sundowns' rescue, putting his body on the line to
deny the sprightly Were.
Sundowns eventually managed to muster a response in the 12th minute,
although Khama Billiat scuffed his shot wide at the far post following a
well worked corner routine.
They again went close just moments later, but Zesco 'keeper Jacob
Banda was alert to the danger, getting down to his right to keep out
Tiyani Mabunda's long-range shot.
Downs briefly threatened again in the 20th minute, but Hlompho Kekana's shot from distance flew high and wide.
Zesco continued to cause the Sundowns defence all sorts of problems, though, with Were again denied by the committed Onyango.
The first half petered out, however, after a frantic opening
half-hour hour, but the match was turned on its head after the break as
Zesco scored two goals in quick succession.
Mwanza broke the deadlock in the 54th minute, sending a glancing header into the far corner, with Onyango left stranded.
Sundowns were still reeling from the opening goal when the hosts
struck again just one minute later, Mwanza getting the last touch on a
driven free-kick to guide it past Onyango in the Sundowns goal.
The visitors eventually managed to regain their composure and went
close to pulling one back in the 65th minute. However, Percy Tau was
unable to direct his shot on target from the left side of the six-yard
Downs continued to press forward in a bid to reduce the deficit and
got the breakthrough they were looking for in the 86th minute, Billiat
finding the back of the net with a curling effort from the left side of
However, the visitors were unable to force a late equaliser as Zesco
held on in the closing stages of the contest to claim a vital 2-1 win
ahead of the second leg of their semi-final tie next weekend.
Banda, Silwimba, Banh, Odhiambo, Oluwafemi, Mwelwa, Mtonga (Mkhowani 78''), Chaila, Ching'andu, Mwanza (71' Mbombo), Were
Onyango, S. Zwane (Mbekile 62'), Nthethe, Arendse, Langerman (Laffor 80'), Kekana, Mabunda, Dolly, T. Zwane (Modise 61'), Tau, Billiat