Downs’ CCL Journey Ends       

Mamelodi Sundowns’ journey in the CAF Champions League ended on Saturday afternoon following a 2-1 aggregate defeat to Wydad Casablanca at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville.

The team from Morocco were stubborn and rigid from the opening minute, making it tough for coach Pitso Mosimane’s men to break them down in search of a goal that would have overturned the tie. Wydad beat Downs in the first leg in Rabat a week ago and the South Africans had hoped to use the away goal scored by defender Anele Ngcongca to their advantage.

A narrow 1-0 victory would have been enough for Sundowns to progress to the final of the Champions League, where they would have met reigning champions Esperance after the Tunisian outfit were able to defeat TP Mazembe over two legs.

But it wasn’t to be – and the 2016 title holders are hopeful they will be back in the Champions League next season, though they first have to confirm their place in the top two of the domestic Absa Premiership table.

Coach Mosimane put out his heavy artillery from the goal posts with Denis Onyango, captain Hlompho Kekana alongside Tiyani Mabunda and a three-man attack of Gaston Sirino, Thapelo Morena and Lebohang Maboe.

However, they couldn’t break down Wydad’s unwavering wall at the back as Downs registered a single shot on target. The home side did enjoy the lion’s share of the ball possession, with more than double the number of passes Wydad had – as well as a pass accuracy of 72 percent compared to Wydad’s 52. But this didn’t lead to a lot of clear cut chances, with the visitors alert whenever Downs were pressing in search of the goal that eventually eluded them.

It is not all lost for Mosimane’s men. The Brazilians have a chance to still win the Premier League title with their fate in their own hands in their remaining two matches in the domestic campaign. Sundowns face Golden Arrows on Tuesday and then travel to Goble Park to play Free State Stars – win both matches and they will be crowned champions, while also having the opportunity to return to Champions League football later this year.

Sundowns are second on the table and trail leaders Orlando Pirates by just one point, though they have a game in hand.

How Downs lined up: 

Onyango, Ngcongca, Langerman, Lebusa, Nascimento, Kekana, Mabunda, Zwane, Sirino, Morena, Maboe

Subs: Mweene, Arendse, Vilakazi, Lakay, Tade, Mahlambi, Coetzee

32 Responses
  1. muzi kunene

    What happened yesterday was very painfully to me and I don’t buy that statement of Wydad parking the bus it was even worse to me that I didn’t celebrate the draw of Pirates which is a big factor to us in winning the league.
    Do I want the Absa league I really don’t know,we will not get an easier chance than that of yesterday to win the secnd star next time it will be tough.Al Alhy is much better than Wydad we should had attack vigourosly from the first whistle until they will open up at the back and scored many goals but We failed to scored just one goal,this slow build up at the back of ours is taking us nowhere my wish next year lets abolish the so called “piano and shoeshine”and attack attack with a sense of urgency like Liverpool normal do even yesterday you should see they wanted to win even in dying minutes and they ended up winning and if you don’t believe me watch on Tuesday against my Barca they will score (attack vigourosly and sense of urgency).Ya its painfully even namanje,Kby forever

    1. Thabo J

      Muzi Kunene blah I give you 100% in terms of how you read and a analyse the game.

      I am not a regular visitor of the website but if you were to be able to track my previous comments, you would notice that what you say is exactly my words.

      Against Wydad, we were not attacking at all. We defended throughout hoping for a solitafy goal and more so, a late one.

      That is as simple as that and that was the coach’s plan. His plan failed the team completely and no excuse a iut it.

      Yes he used a d attacking squad which played defensive game in order to be able to change into an attack mode in an instance were Wydad happen to score a surprise goal.

    2. Younes The Moroccan

      Muzi, who did lie to you telling you Al Ahly is much better Than Wydad. Are you jocking…Wydad has been always beating Al Ahly ..remember CAF 2017 final. Besides, how come you beat Alahly 5 0 and loose againt Wydad. Mathematically, Wydad is better Than Alahly and Sundowns. Wake up my brother.

  2. Benedict

    Yes, It is painful to me as well, but to be honest Sundowns plays good football.
    1. The Problem in this Case is PSL , Pitso and the boys have no control over that.
    2. PSL is not supporting local club including Pirates, Leopards game was supposed to postponed.
    3. There was no problem with the way we play, the thing I noticed is that we need a striker, but this is the problem of all SADEC countries.
    4. To be knocked out in the final or sami-Final that a good thing. Sundowns are the champions

  3. Dalom

    We should’ve parked our own bus back in Rabbat last week. We had a chance to do that as we went to the break on level terms. It is a well known fact that the PSL will never assist us with anything, so crying about them is just a waste of time. We should come up with our own strategy to deal with this issue of playing so many games within a short space. I mean, we’ve been in this thing for more than five years now.

  4. Muzi

    this caf champions thing it hard to win it alone , you also need support from mother body like PSL to take full responsibility like other countries do. look at AJAX AMSTADAM . they resheduled the league finishing until AJAX cames back with star . what about us

    1. phillip

      true soccer supporter talk like that, psl only support our clubs when they won but they careless of how they do the you said brother other teams have support from their countries.

  5. brown sfane

    what is the point of having so many players who doesn’t contribute to the team, same team every time, this are
    human not robots .

  6. Mupe

    Sundowns needs to revamp the team… there is a lot of dead wood… that includes the coach, he must bow out now. Pitso’s coaching is very predictable and very boring… this is even seen in the players… his favourites. They are chokers and not winners like our 2016 team. Kekana, Mabunda, Arendse, Vilakazi, Nascimento, Ngcongca, Onyango, Zwane and Langerman must either be benched or sold!! We also need to play with strikers… this thing of playing without strikers has killed us.

  7. Raymond chagi

    Am very proud of you Masandawana, you guys fought very hard even Wydad can agree on that. All the North African teams knows about Sundowns and their scared of you. well done and lets go get our league title. kaboyellow

  8. Bango

    Gentle people , we played well this far, it was not meant to be, we all anticipated the positive result , it just could not add up to the final . Hope does not kill, ithemba alibulali! For Sundowns to have arrived at that level with that team honestly its a great achievement, for them to have crossed that stage it was going to be joy to all of us. They really wanted to to win it, both players and the technical team, they probably needed it more than we did, honestly remember there is money price that was directly attached to them, and pride attached to it. We lost its painful that we are out of the competition so late, when we were closer home, we all wanted, wished and prayed that we would cross over, they had a game plan, they executed just that,we did not get to the score sheet. Its football , anything can happen. May be the problem is with all of us this side, we won the match before it was played, we won it on paper(statistics) and forgot to give room for the field of play. We definitely need a hit man to spice the front line. But that team has done so well, we can not fight and spill the beans and every thing on the tables. Lets agree these guys fought like warriors, dying moving forward. We can all take a deep breath and allow it to pass and say we have unfinished business at CAF. Wydad are were there are today because they felt the pain of losing in the final last season and here they come, they are back in the final again with the same team and this time they are loading a star. Sundowns plays good football, only that it was not good enough to make us cross over. That is football, we gear our selves to the League, nothing to fear for now, we must get back to support the guys again, tomorrow is a big game.KbY

  9. Skhumba

    As long as Pitso believes playing with 2 number tens is better than having an out and out striker it will never help to bring any goal scoring striker to the team. What happened on Saturday is a lesson to the coach and his technical team. When Wydad packed the bus, Pitso had no answer! He always boasts that the North Africans do not have an answer to 2 numbers tens that he uses and on satarday he was just exposed how clueless he is when it comes to tactics. He was exposed big time! Long and high balls were being pumped forward without any takers. Really is there any justification that Maboe should play as our number 9 every now and then? I do not know probable i am wrong but that match against Wydad it appeared Pitso had no plan B at all. One could see in the first half that Sundowns was struggling to penetrate Wydad through the centre and via the short passing game. Andile Jali could have been the solution because he is a good carrier of the ball and he can play in tight spaces. I wonder what will be the coach’s excuses be this time around. He was beaten by a more clever and experienced coach. His tactical was found wanting on the day. He thanks he know football but on Saturday he was brought down to earth with his tail between the legs. He still has a lot learn!

  10. Sivu

    I agree, not going through to CCL finals hurts. However our anger should not cloud our success over the past 5 sessions. Pitso has his faults and favourites. When we win we do not see that but when we lose we are quick to judge.

    The boys have done their best and gave their all. Let’s support our team whether we win PSL title or not.

    Yes I agree again that Pitso needs to give other players a chance to prove their worth.

    Proud of those boys and coaching staff. Kaboyello

  11. Thato Hato

    Although it’s painful, I know you tried your best to even get this far, I am proud of my team, let’s try and win the league instead just to wipe our tears, and we will be back in CAF even more stronger in the next campaign. My only 2 cents is that we need a more skillful and ruthless forward like Percy and stronger and more consistent defense, we started righ at the beginning, not conceding goals but off late, we conced in almost every game.

  12. Thato Hato

    Just imagine what would have happened if we didn’t conced a goal in Rabat and scored that 1 goal, we would have won these Semi’s.

  13. Sundowns is the best team,they played good football and we must know even you play good football you may loose the game,I feel sorry for those supporters who want our team to win everything as if we owning everything… We will be there again next season.. Just we need to strengthened our defense and get a wise striker that can as well play with other players.. We must sell Brockie is not our material….

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