Sundowns Egyptian Giant
Mamelodi Sundowns took a huge step in booking their place in the semifinals of the CAF Champions League when they routed Egyptian club giants Al Ahly 5-0 in the first leg quarterfinal clash at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Saturday afternoon.
Both sides started the match tentatively but the home side quickly warmed up as they got into their famous short passing game. That was proving very troublesome for the big Egyptian defense.
Themba Zwane and Lebohang Maboe were the players who were a thorn in the flesh of the Al Ahly defense with their speed and vision.
It was the former who broke the deadlock as early as the 14th minute as a lovely flowing move down the left-hand touchline. Uruguayan Gaston Sirino spread a lovely ball wide to Tebogo Langerman who put in a beautiful cross into the box were Zwane tapped in easily.
The home side weren’t done there, they doubled their lead nine minutes later through big central defender Wayne Arendse. Sundowns won a freekick 10m away from the box which Sirino took. The ball evaded all the would-be Al Ahly defenders and found an unmarked Arendse who also tapped in easily to put the host comfortably up by 2-0.
Sundowns could have easily made it three but Sirino volleyed over the bar after Maboe found him with a beautiful ball in the box, the Egyptian giants fortunate to go into the half time break two goals down.
The Brazilians could not have asked for a better start in the beginning of the second half. Maboe was brought down in the box by goalkeeper Mohamed Elshenawy inside the first minute of the game. Ricardo Nascimento duly stepped up and in his expected cool fashion converted and made it 3-0.
The home side weren’t done just yet, they netted a fourth goal, deservedly through Sirino to dash the Egyptian side’s hope of staging any comeback. Phakamani Mahlambi a second-half substitution buried the final nail in the proverbial Al Ahly coffin, netting after a swift counter-attacking move, scoring against his former side.
Crucially Sundowns didn’t concede a goal in a brilliant display of football in Atteridgeville. They now take a huge four-goal advantage into the second leg in Cairo next weekend.