Masandawana Get Off To Winning Start In Champions League Group B

Mamelodi Sundowns earned victory in their first match of the CAF Champions League group stages of the season as they brushed aside AL Hilal 1-0 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The DStv Premiership Champions outclassed their visitors throughout the encounter and grabbed an early foothold as 21-year old Cassius Mailula opened the scoring mid-way through the first half. Mailula capitalized on Hilal’s mistake when the ball left the goalkeeper’s hands, the pacey forward tapped the ball into the net past Ali Eshrein.

Masandawana displayed top-quality performance from the first whistle, as early as 5 minutes into the match, Teboho Mokoena brilliantly stopped Hilal’s attempt at goal when the ball was played into the box.  Bafana Bafana international goalie Ronwen Williams was also tested early in the action, an incoming shot on target made way inside the box, but Williams was alert to make the save.

The battle between the two sides intensified as both teams looked for an early goal to settle into the game, the dazzling moves from Marcelo Allende and Sphelele Mkhulise in passing between the defenders pushed The Brazilians towards goal. Mailula received a well a well aimed pass from Allende but he was unfortunate to find the right finishing. After 15 minutes of play and showing grit in home ground, Mothobi Mvala was involved in a mean-looking battle that caused for him to receive treatment for his head injury and shortly returned to the field.

Mkhulise and Allende had a couple of opportunities as Masandawana continued to push for an opener, Mkhulise forced a save from Eshrein when he put his strike on target. Marcelo’s attempt was blocked by the bodies of the men in blue and white, but determined to score for Bafana Ba Style, the Chile international got at the end of the ball again and fired over the goalposts.

Shortly as the clock hit 25 minutes, Mailula took a superb rebound ball in the box to give Downs the lead and scored his forth Champions League goal this season. The Sudanese team showed to have a response to the attack four minutes later when they managed to get into Masandawana’s box but their efforts were denied by Williams.

Bafana Ba Style soon regrouped and took control of the game, Neo Maema’s long pass at the half hour spot cut through the defenders as Peter Shalulile got ready to take on the goalkeeper but the linesman put his flag up for offside. Maema was then fouled five minutes later by Walieldin Khedr a few meters away from the arch, Aubrey Modiba took the responsibility and struck his effort against the bodies of Hilal as the ball defected and Shalulile tried to finish it off but the ball went out.

As half-time was approaching, Ibrahim Imoro found the chance to deliver in a cross into the box, Mohamed Yagoub came in running to finish off the ball but missed the opportunity to equalize. Masandawana narrowly extended the lead at the brink of half time, Mokoena moved the ball from the center to Maema who then found Shalulile upfront who was unfortunate to shoot with his weak foot on target. Sundowns headed into the tunnel with a 1-0 lead over Al Hilal.

The Brazilians exerted early pressure on The Blues when the second half resumed, Allende and Mkhulise went unstoppable as they charged forward towards the defenders and set up Mailula with a pass. Mailula chipped his shot over the last line of defenders but had his effort blocked by Hilal’s Ousmane Diouf. Mailula thought he had made it two soon afterwards with a lovely shot over the keeper, but it was disallowed as the offside flag went up.

With 55 minutes played and the visitors trying their luck to find an equalizer, Downs were still the better side after the break and the Sudanese began to foul the men in yellow t-shirts. Allende was brought down as he was heading into the box, Mokoena’s free kick went on target forcing the goalkeeper to push the ball out. A couple minutes went by with Masandawana rotating the ball and putting Hilal under pressure, but no goal resulted from their efforts and eventually the visitors got hold of the ball.

A corner kick was awarded to the Blues afrer Mvala blocked out a threatening strike from Yasir El Tayeb on the side of the goalposts. Williams made a save from the corner kick and Masandawana were back in charge. With 10 minutes left to play, Downs made their first changes to the line up, Thapelo Morena and Gift Motupa were the first pair to come and Shalulile together with Mkhulise went off. Bongsni Zungu also came on for Mailula in the encounter.

Mamelodi Sundowns will be back in action on 17, February when they travel to Cameroon to lock horns with Coton Sport in the CAF Champions League.  

This is how we lined up:

Williams, Mvala, Mudau, Kekana, Modiba, Mailula (88′ Kutumela), Maema, Allende (88′ Zungu), Mokoena, Mkhulise(80′ Morena), Shalulile (81′ Motupa).


Pieterse, Lebusa, Ngobeni, Morena, Jali, Kutumela, Zungu, Motupa, Ralani.


10 Responses
  1. Muzi Kunene

    Nice win but I’m not happy with our leftback position and I thought our coach will continue with Ngobeni because that guy is not going forward often like Modiba and our opponents were causing some serious threats on that side.
    Another thing I thought we would continue with Kapinga and Mbule just to frustrate the opponents with dribbling and defence splitting passes because that’s the only way to beat this team on Champs League and I’m afraid of Al Ahly it seems this season are more dangerous than the previous years.

  2. Mfana

    Rulani Mokoena is starting to think everything starts and ends with Modiba against Pirates the first substitute was Modiba who nearly cost us 3 points,midweek he brought this boy Modiba if for what I don’t know.Day by day Modiba is just a waste of a player who just adds numbers.I thought that was a perfect opportunity to bring Jerome Karelse against Richards Bay,favoritism is the ugliest part of Rulani,when he just spoils undeserving individuals with Sundowns starting eleven.But thank you for the win and this late substitution after 80 minutes just make Rulani another lousy version of Pitso Mosimane,please young boy don’t demoralize other players just to accommodate your ego.You will be a great future coach of Sundowns just don’t be full of yourself

  3. Sbedula

    Yaah I agree with you members, modiba is a passage Caz he can’t defend he is good going forward. and mtn 8 we lost to pirates because of him please try Ngobeni Caz he is natural left back.

  4. Nkoyi

    A boring game, especially in left back and middlefield, I don’t know what special Rhulani sees on Mokoena, Modiba and Allende. For me, they are average players, when they are on the field, we don’t see good football, despite having many better middlefielders like Jali, Zungu, Mbule who can produce good football, but the coach doesn’t play them. We also felt the absence of Zwane, our engine. The technical team should stop with favoritism.

  5. Thulas

    Each comment makes me laugh. There seems to be a general consensus that Modiba is deemed not fit for the left back. Not long ago Zwane was blamed, Ngobeni and Mvala were not Sundowns material. Is it too much to give technical team a chance to implement what they do in training? Well done Masandawana for 3 points and Good luck in Cameroon and Egypt.

    1. Makhosonke

      2by2 boi Thulas… Yes we complained about Mvala special, once that player make a mistake sibamba izisu, but this one of Modiba is out of line because every game he play he makes silly mistakes that can cost a team… Ai Modiba it’s a big NO from me…

  6. Thulas

    The most important thing for me is that the team is winning. This was number seventeen win in a row for the team. The request I can put up is for the coach to make substitutes a bit early

    1. Ronnie Bothma

      I agree with Thulas…what are we looking for really? We are on an unprecedented run…we breaking records…we win when we play well…and we also win when we don’t play well…isn’t that what we want? No one can do their best every given time…including the people complaining.

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