Downs Kick Off CAF Group Stages With Comfortable Victory

Mamelodi Sundowns comfortably secured their first win in the CAF Champions League group stages after defeating Mauritania outfit FC Nouadhibou 3-0 at Loftus on Sunday afternoon.

Goals from Lucas Ribeiro, Peter Shalulile and Gaston Sirino saw Masandawana cruise to victory in scorching conditions in Pretoria.

The game started at a high tempo, with the visitors looking to nullify Downs’ passing tempo with a physical approach to the game, accruing a high number of fouls in the opening stages. Neo Maema was the first to have a sight at goal, as he combined with Terrence Mashego in the box, before his shot was saved by Babacar Diop.

Masandawana continued to threaten and managed to break the deadlock halfway through the first half when Khuliso Mudau launched a counter attack which resulted in Lucas Ribeiro finding the back of the net with his first of the group phase.

The lead would be doubled shortly afterwards by Peter Shalulile, who scored his second in as many games since returning from injury when he headed home the in-swinging corner from Marcelo Allende.

The Brazilians would manage proceedings until the break and went into halftime with a two-goal advantage to protect.

The second half started with two chances in quick succession for Thapelo Morena, who was making his long-awaited return from a spell on the sidelines. The first of his chances saw him draw a save from Diop in goal, before his second effort went just over the bar as he was played in by Shalulile.

Coach Rulani and the technical staff rang the changes, bringing on Brian Onyango, Lebohand Maboe and Gaston Sirino to try and increase the lead and protect the clean sheet.

Substitute Sirino would be involved in the biggest flashpoint of the second half, when he was brought down cynically by Diop as the last man, resulting in the Mauritian team being reduced to 10 men as their keeper was sent off.

Sirino stepped up to the plate and slotted home the very free kick which he won on the edge of the box to make the result a certainty for the team in yellow.

Coach Rulani introduced Sipho Mbule and Ntando Nkosi into the fray in the closing stages and the team from Chloorkop comfortably closed out the game, stringing together long sequences of passess and denying Nouadhibou any chances to score.

In the end it was The Brazilians who walked away with three goals and three points to get their CAF Champions League group campaign underway with a win. Up next, a short turn around to gear up for a return to DStv Premiership action in the upcoming Tshwane Derby.

How we lined up: Williams, Mudau, De Reuck, Lebusa, Mashego, Allende, Mkhulise, Maema, Shalulile, Morena, Ribeiro

Subs: Pieterse, Mokoena, B. Onyango, Sirino, Zwane, Mbule, Nkosi, Ngobeni, Maboe