Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies registered a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Tanzania’s Simba Queens in Rabat to reach the final of the CAF Women’s Champions League for the second year in a row.
A second-half strike from Boitumelo Rabale was enough to hand Banyana Ba Style a narrow win in a fixture that will easily go down as one of the toughest battles contested by Coach Jerry’s troops in recent times.
Andile Dlamini retained her place in goal while Zanele Nhlapho, Karabo Makhurubetshi, Bambanani Mbane, and Chuene Morifi anchored the defense line. Lerato Kgasago, Oratile Mokwena, and Boitumelo Rabale started in midfield while Lelona Daweti was flanked by Melinda Kgadiete and Nonhlanhla Mthandi in the attack.
Coach Jerry had labelled the fixture a ‘final before the final’ and both teams lived up to the pre-match hype in a highly contested goalless first half which featured high-octane tackles and fast combination plays.
Kappa was forced to make a tactical switch before the end of the first half with Thalea Smidt replacing Oratile Mokwena.
The Brazilians began the second half in the worst possible way with Karabo Makhurubetshi suffering a serious shoulder injury that required her to be stretchered off. Andile Dlamini was also called into action with a near-post save as the CECAFA champions pushed for the game’s opening goal.
Banyana Ba Style then conjured up a moment of magic in the 75th minute as Melinda Kgadiete linked up with Boitumelo Rabale who delivered a stunning strike to break the Tanzanian resistance.
Despite a valiant fight from Charles Lukula’s charges, the defending champions delivered a brave defensive performance in the dying minutes to reach their second successive CAF Women’s Champions League final.
Boitumelo Rabale who was named ‘Woman of the Match’, her second award of the tournament, praised the resilience of her teammates.
“We are very excited about the victory because our opponents were difficult to break down across the pitch. It is always a pleasure to play a part in the team’s success and scoring the winning goal means so much to me. This victory was a result of our hard work and absolute determination to retain the continental title we won last year. I am very happy to have won the ‘Woman of the Match’ again and to help my team to reach the final of this prestigious competition” Rabale stated.
On the quality of the opposition, Rabale stated that “This is one of the toughest games we have played in the CAF Champions League tournament. Both teams were gunning for the final and we had to dig deep to maintain our incredible record at the competition. There is no time to relax because we have a final to prepare for.”
With this narrow win, Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies have now extended their unbeaten run at the continent’s premier women’s tournament to 9 games (W7 D2). The Brazilians have also scored 12 goals in Morocco, the highest number of goals scored by a club in a single tournament.
In the other semi-final match played on Wednesday, Ibtissam Jraïdi scored the only goal of the game as hosts AS FAR edged out Nigeria Bayelsa Queen’s by a lone goal to also secure their place in Sunday’s final.
Congratulations to our Formidable Ladies for reaching the CAF Women’s Champions League Final!!!