Downs Score Superb Away Victory24/May/2017 21:08
The Brazilians won 3-1 against a side which last campaign beat them on goal difference.
The win sent the Tshwane Giants to the top of the four team log.
The defending champions, who were held goalless in their first group fixture, came to the DRC knowing that they have to win in the sometimes hostile environment, and needed to get the early goal to settle the nerves.
Vita, on the other hand needed to win after stumbling in their group stage opener, and showed early confidence.
However it was the African champions who settled first, and played their regular passing game.
The Brazilians were without talisman Khama Billiat, and captain Hlompho Kekana was on the bench. Sibusiso Vilakazi was given a starting berth, and Leonardo Castro made a return on the bench after a lengthy absence.
Thabo Nthete was given the captain’s arm band, and the man they call Mr Cool marshaled the troops well in the final line.
Zakri once more showed his class as he broke through as early as the ninth minute. The Ivorian bore down on goal, and forced the Vita goalkeeper into a brilliant save.
However, he made a run on the left flank, twisting and turning before laying on the ball for Tebogo Langerman whose well weighted cross was met by a diving Anthony Laffor whose header beat the Vita goalkeeper to give the South Africans the lead they had been probing for. (1-0).
The packed stadium went numb and silent, but their home side did not give up the chase.
Sundowns were still dominating, but were forced to defend deep, and Vita got the breakthrough to get the equaliser to send the crowd into raptures once more. Denis Onyango was beaten from a centre break, with Oumar Sedibe slotting in.
Percy Tau, who was making regular runs into the box, was brought down in the box but the referee would hear none of it, waving play on.
Then, as the minutes ticked towards the half time break, Zakri made his way past two defenders but was denied by the cross bar.
In the second half, Sundowns continued running at the Vita defence, and another goal was inevitable.
Zakri and Tau were combining well, and the Ivorian put Tau through. The youngster tried to lob the ball over the goalie, but was well read.
Vilakazi joined the fray, and with the four pronged attack of Laffor, Zakri, Tau and himself, the hosts were cracking.
Zakri eventually got his reward when he rifled in a shot from inside the box after some good work by Themba Zwane, who played more of a defensive role to restore the champions’ lead. (2-1).
For short periods the Vita attack tested the Sundowns defence, but Langerman, Nthete, Motjeka Madisha and Thapelo Morena held up and cleared everything coming their way.
Zwane had a chance to give his side a two goal cushion, but his effort went over the bar.
Zakri, who had been brought down several times, indicated that he had had enough, and the coach finally sent on Teko Modise to take his place.
Leonardo Castro came on for Laffor, who was on a yellow.
Vilakazi played through the centre, and beat the goalie to give the Brazilians a 3-1 lead, a much safer lead as the minutes ticked by.
Themba Zwane came off for defensive player Siyanda Zwane, and Mosimane was content to let his boys play possession football as the clock ticked by, and the Champions were well on their way to a superb victory away.