Sundowns Confirm Knockout Stage Qualification

10/Jul/2017 06:02

Mamelodi Sundowns were under no pressure when they took on Democratic Republic of Congo side AS Vita in their final Group C Confederation of African Football Champions League fixture at the Lucas Moripe Stadium as they had already qualified for the quarter finals of the African showpiece.

And it showed as they displayed some scintillating carpet football but in the end settled for a 1-1 draw.

Coach Pitso Mosimane gave some key players, including captain Hlompho Kekana, some rest following a grueling season. And Asavela Mbekile , Kennedy Mweene and Fares Hachi were given a start, and the two infield players brought a new attack dimension to the defending African champions.

What could have been a classic display of attacking football from both sides was marred by some rough tackling, with the visitors recording a total of 22 fouls, but only two yellow cards being flashed by the referee.

Players who had to pick themselves up following these fouls were Yannick Zakri, Thapelo Morena, Hachi, Percy Tau and Motjeka Madisha, with Sibusiso Vilakazi being clipped from behind in the box.  Mbekile eventually had to be replaced after battling through into the second half.

The Brazilians had an early chance as Vilakazi put through Tau, but the Vita goalie made a critical clearance for a corner.

Soon thereafter it was Hachi who made a run from the flank, and in the seventh minute Anthony Laffor and Zakri played some inter passing, and Laffor put through the striker who was adjudged offside.

Tau shot for goal through a whole cluster of defenders but the Vita goalie was alert.

Vita came to life briefly and, and from a corner kick, Mweene was forced to make a diving save, one of the rare occasions he was called into action.

Sundowns were piling on the pressure, and from a clearance by the Vita goalie, Morena played through stand in captain Thabo Nthete, who calmly put the ball into the back of the net after beating the off side trap.

The African champions played a deep passing game, hoping to lure the visitors out of their defensive positions, with the play being concentrated in the Sundowns half and Vita sitting back.

Zakri had a chance in the 37th, and Vilakazi showed dome neat skills to turn the Vita defence just after the half time break.

Vilakazi then broke down the flank and onto the byline before cutting the ball across into the six box. A Vita defender just managed to get a touch to put the ball beyond the reach of Zakri.

Tau had another chance in the 52nd minute, and eight minutes later Laffor and Zakri turned on the magic, but once more it was the goalie who thwarted the Tshwane Giants.

The pace Sundowns showed with Zakri, Mbekile, Morena and Tau running at the visitors was telling, and often frustrated the visitors into late tackles.

Soumahoro launched a rare attack on the flank and laid on for Vilakazi, but he was clipped and appeals for a penalty were waved away.

The visitors then came back into attacks one more, and Mweene was forced to tip the ball over the bar from a long range shot. Another effort just shaved the cross bar.

Hachi then got an opportunity as he raced through, but his teeing of the ball was too strong.

Laffor was then caught on the thigh with a high tackle, and the Liberian was kept quiet as his mobility seemed to have been affected. He was eventually replaced by Leonardo Castro, who almost hot a goal with his first touch.

From a throw in, headers by Morena and Soumahoro fell for a Vita forward who volleyed first time, beating Mweene who seemed to have been unsighted. The goal spurred the visitors to a new level of energy.

Sundowns were given a new scare when Soumahoro went down following a twisting attempt at goal, but returned to soldier on.

Lucky Mohomi came on for Mbekile.

On the stroke of 90 minutes Soumahoro tried a long range drive which the goalie parried before collecting St the second attempt .

The Tshwane side joined Tunisian side Esperance, who ended top of the group log following a pasting of St George 4-0 at home, in the quarter final knock out stage.

Starting line up:

Kennedy Mweene, Thapelo Morena, Fares Hachi, Motjeka Madisha, Thabo Nthete,  Soumahoro Bangaly, Anthony Laffor (Leonardo Castro), Sibusiso Vilakazi, Yannick Zakri , Asavele Mbekile ( Lucky Mohomi), Percy Tau.

17 Responses to Sundowns Confirm Knockout Stage Qualification

  1. muzi kunene says:

    I think we need to play all our Champions League games to Loftus Stadium if we are serious about defending this trophy even all our Psl games for next season.We lost the league because of that stadium its always draws and our next game against Wydad Casablanca in Sept mustn’t played there,I know some will say we didn’t convert chances we created yesterday and that game was like a practise match but we don’t have luck nowadays to that stadium.

    Overall the performance was good and I’m happy for Bangaly on that new position he played yesterday lets hope we will see more of him in future partnering with Kekana, Kby forever.

  2. Bucks says:

    Its not about the pitch my brother, we were just blunt on the day. The game was dull and that was not ok for some of us supporters. We deserve better and the football that was dished on the day was boring. Next time they must do better especially after calling for big attendance from us. We heeded the call but went home without anything to cherish about

  3. Shingirayi Zimunya says:

    Vilakazi showed his true potential yesterday, his runs, his off the ball movements. Soumahoro ruled that midfield and proved his worth. As always Madisha was phenomenal and Zakri also came to the party. I can not blame Mweene alone for the goal conceded but for some reason, when he plays we never win and we always concede. I am confident in Hachi as well, he showed a lot of courage and pace. Can you imagine what is going to happen when Billiat is back in full form, when Kekana is in full form, when Zakri and Vilakazi and Zwane all hit full form after this three weeks break!!! We are ging to be unstoppable, I can see the PSL title coming back home where it belongs and I see us killing Wydad Casablanca to advance to the Semis and to the Final of the Champions League. I also loved the new kit, its befitting of Champions. We are on the UP and Up and indeed the Sky Is The Limit!!!

  4. Ob says:

    We must go back to Loftus

  5. Teddy says:

    Loftus please !!!!

  6. collen says:

    School-boy errors that resulted in a goal we conceded. First Morena flicked the ball straight to the box and Bangaly instead of clearing it for a corner, he opted to play it inside. It also exposed our awareness when it comes to second winning second balls or should i say our organisation when defending set-pieces. We should have assigned a player to protect the D-Line.

    Villa keep it up boy, that’s what we expect and know you for. Otherwise it was a good game given that we played entirely with a new team, it would be harsh to the players to expect miracles in such situations. They applied themselves well and am happy with what i saw.

  7. Mbez says:

    Loftus is neutral and always draws better support…

  8. Dalom says:

    I’ve always maintained that Bangaly is well suited for that holding midfield position, but also could’ve done much better with his clearing header. Basic footballing rules will tell you that you don’t clear straight back to the middle of the field, but sideways. We need to re-establish that partnership of Nthethe and Arendse in that central defense and Billiat should be ready for Wydad Casablanca. Big up to the coach for giving some of our forgotten players some game time. We should’ve easily won that game, but it was not all about winning as the result wouldn’t have changed anything. I also wanted to avoid Ahl Ahly.

  9. mandla says:

    Plz sign Sandilands n let this Mweene go,,he tried yesterday but his organisational communication lacks big time that why he always conceeds..Soumahoro is the best I witnessed yesterday,as for Zakri I think there is some selfishness although his pace is great,Villa is soo marvel,,,Wyndad starting 11 Onyango,Morena,Langerman,Madisha,Nthete,Soumahoro,Kekana,Zwane,Villa,Billiat,Zakri…subs:Sandilands,Hachi,Zwane S,Madunda,Laffor,Tau,Castro

  10. jimmy says:

    I can not understand the football fans now people are singing a different song Vila is a marvel Zakri is this and that ,Please people give our new players some time to adjust and get used to Sundowns ways of doing things , let us not kill our own players . just imagine what was going on inside Zakri before he scored his first goal our own Sundowns fan were helping kill Zakri with what we were writing about him – big ups to Vila he stood the test of time and the results are now starting to show –

  11. Mfana says:

    I’m listening to the ppl talking about luck&unluckiness in Lucas Moripe stadium but my concern is a lack of marketing in such a way that we resorted to make free entry at the stadium,my question is we know when we r playing Casablanca but the tickets r not available right now.R we going to wait for the last day for the availability of tickets.At Sundowns ppl r slacking and dragging their feet when it comes to marketing this team.On our side when we come with positive criticism they say we r not loyal.But the fingers r pointing to their direction they bcome defensive.Marketing wise& webmaster there is a very very long way to go regarding their departments.They r not prepared to improve on their jobs and they leave a lot to be desired .

  12. Mfana says:

    Regarding the presence of Mweene.He on our payroll baffles, me the guy is a sieve why not bring Thela Ngobeni?Pitso sometimes can do things &stick to ridiculous decisions even if they’re not helping us.There is no goalkeeper who plays 90 games and concedes 90 goals except Mweene.We may pointing fingers to the defenders but he ( Mweene)is not a saint when it comes to conceding goals.To be precise we r having too many foreigners &we shud b eliminating them &believe in home grwn talent.

  13. albert Mngomezulu says:

    Mr coach please rest Tau and give Castro game time please,the boy is not delivering anything nothing at all.

  14. Sam-4-Downz says:

    Zakri is selfish, so his decision making leaves a lot to be desired, he’s not for the team but for himself. To me, that makes him a liability. We need Tau on the pitch all the time, he’s very unselfish and a hustler who needs his partner in crime, Biliat. I still say Soumahoro Bangaly is way too slow, Thapelo Morena should also start games.