Mamelodi Sundowns strengthened their hold on top spot in Group C as they overcame USM Algers 1-0 in a tightly contested affair at the Stade Mustapha Tchaker.
The opening stages saw a high-tempo start from both teams, with the hosts enjoying the lion’s share of possession and Downs having to demonstrate their defensive discipline. Denis Onyango stood tall in goals and was called upon early to make two important saves in the opening fifteen minutes.
Both sides showed their Champions League pedigree and spent much of the first half cancelling each other out. The two sides went into the break scoreless.
Knowing how vital three away points could be in a tough group, Downs started the second half with renewed energy and took the game to the hosts, Hlompho Kekana fired a shot at goal within seconds of the referee’s whistle. Downs continued to threaten the opposition with Gaston Sirino coming close with a well-struck shot.
The Brazilians eventually found the breakthrough in the 58th minute with Kekana seizing upon a defensive error before rounding Mohamed in goals and calmly slotting home.
Coach Pitso Mosimane soon rung the changes as he brought on Tiyani Mabunda and Lyle Lakay in an attempt to close out the game.
Downs withstood a late flurry of chances from the hosts to secure three important points and end the year on a high.
Mosimane expressed his pleasure at his sides ability to grind out a strong result:
“I’m so happy that we passed the first ten minutes because they put us under a lot of pressure, but we settled after that. I am happy with the result.”
“We still have nine points to play for, but we are going to have to fight for them.”
The win sees The Brazilians end 2019 on top of group C with seven points after three games played.