Mamelodi Sundowns will return home with a two-goal deficit after succumbing to Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the first leg of their CAF Champions League quarter-final on Saturday evening at the Cairo International Stadium.
The hosts got off to a better start and enjoyed the better share of possession in the opening quarter of an hour with The Brazilians displaying their defensive discipline as the kept their shape and limited chances created against them.
Denis Onyango justified his reputation as one of Africa’s finest as he took command of his penalty area on numerous occasions, claiming multiple aerial balls and calmly saving an attempt from range.
Gaston Sirino saw his powerful effort from range go wide of goals as the two sides went into the break goalless.
The hosts took the lead ten minutes into the second half when defender Ali Maâloul got past his man after playing a one-two with Junior Ajayi to enter the box before he slotted past Onyango.
Al Ahly were awarded a penalty ten minutes later when Captain Hlompho Kekana was adjudged to have fouled Aliou Badji in the penalty area. Maâloul stepped up to the spot and beat Onyango to grab his second of the game and give the hosts a two-goal advantage.
The game opened up in the final stages as Downs continued to look for a way back into the tie. Coach Pitso Mosimane brought on Tiyani Mabunda and Phakamani Mahlambi to try and secure the all-important away goal.
The result meant The Brazilians’ suffered only their second defeat in 2020. Despite being down Pitso Mosimane’s side will be looking for a repeat of their previous home fixture against Al Ahly in April 2019 which saw them emerge as 5-0 winners, as they look to turn the tie around in the second leg.
Al Ahly SC (55’, 68’ Maâloul) 2-0 Mamelodi Sundowns