Mamelodi Sundowns suffered a 2-0 defeat to Al Ahly at the Al Salam Stadium on Saturday evening in the first leg of their CAF Champions League quarter final. It was a night of high drama in Cairo that ended with the home team having a positive start in the tie.
Mutual respect between the two sides was evident in the opening stages of the match, both teams displayed football of the highest quality, having a go at each other by moving the football quickly across the pitch. Mosa Lebusa was alert early on to immediately clear the ball away after Al Ahly’s early attempt to test Denis Onyango.
The score remained goalless for both teams, Downs continued to press with intensity to deny their opponents space to play the ball, this proved to work well as both teams still had not registered any goals. It was the combination play of Gift Motupa with Aubrey Modiba that saw the ball hit the woodwork as the game began to heat up. Motupa went close again with another promising header that went wide across the keeper’s sight. With The Brazilian’s threatening presence growing, the visitors were pegged back when Taher Mohammed put the defenders under pressure with an unexpected shot on target that hit the back of the net to give the Egyptian giants the lead.
Moments before the half time break Lebohang Maboe found himself in a good position to equalize for Masandawana, however the defence of the home team denied the strike.
The second half began in the same fashion as the first however this time it was Downs who were attacking with intent. Lebusa had the first clear cut chance of the half when his header was saved by El Shanawi in goal. Kermit Erasmus made an immediate contribution off the bench as he combined in attack with Motupa and created an opportunity that was saved for a corner. The technical team made two extra substitutions with Lyle Lakay coming on for Aubrey Modiba and Promise Mkhuma replacing Gift Motupa.
The Brazilians attempts on equalizing were short-lived at the brink of full time when Salah Shalabi extended the lead for the Red Giants to close the doors of a comeback from the visitors.
The game ended in a 2-0 win for Al Ahly with the return leg to be played on in a week’s time.
How the team lined up: D. Onyango, Nascimento ©, Lebusa, Coetzee, Morena, Modiba(79’ Lakay), Maboe, Mkhulise, Sirino (68’ Erasmus), Motupa (79’ Mkhuma), Shalulile.
Subs: Mweene, B. Onyango, Lakay, Erasmus, Jali, Mvala, Vilakazi, Mudau, Mkhuma.