Masandawana Leave Morocco With First Leg Stalemate

Mamelodi Sundowns held Wydad AC to a goalless draw in the first leg of the CAF Champions League semi-finals clash at Stade Mohamed V on Saturday night.

The home side started off by playing with a high press and kept Masandawana in their own half for most of the opening half, but they caused no real threats at goal. Masandawana regrouped and found their way into the game, just before ten minutes, Peter Shalulile found the back of the net and put The Brazilians in the lead. Neo Maema passed the ball to the Namibian international with two defenders on him when the ball beat the Youssef El Motie between his legs, but our celebrations were cut short when VAR found Shalulile in an offside position

The Tshwane giants persisted and pushed to find another opportunity in Wydad’s half, Themba Zwane was next to come close to goal when he turned the defenders and took a shot at goal but his attempt didn’t have enough power to go past the goalkeeper. As the pressure started to build for the hosts, Mohamed Ounajem charged towards Ronwen Williams box and took a shot but his shot went over the goalposts.

Downs regained possession and kept the ball away from the hosts to create scoring opportunities, Maema found the space to supply Zwane with a pass and the captain fired towards goal with his shot going over the goalposts. The home team slowed down their high press and looked to defend deep shortly the half hour mark, and Downs pressed on with their attack, Sipho Mbule got into the action when he set up Khukiso Mudau with a short pass, the defender then passed to Zwane who shot straight into the hands of the goalkeeper.

Bafana Ba Style took more chances at goal, this time Teboho Mokoena showed up with a shot from distance, but the midfielder was unfortunate to see his strike go into the hands of El Motie. As the half time was approaching, Masandawana were looking more active and deadly in their attacks, however, Maema picked up a red card for a foul after a VAR check was done by the referee and both sides went into the tunnel with the scoreline intact.

The second half began almost as how the game started, Wydad looked to press high and put the visitors under pressure, they had the first chance to test the goalkeeper from a free kick. Bouly Sambou connected with the incoming free kick and took a powerful shot but he went off target with his shot. Masandawana took control of the game again and came real close to finding the back of the net through Zwane, the captain and Thapelo Morena linked up at the edge of the box but the final pass was intercepted and taken out for a corner.

After the hour mark, Wydad found their way past the defense, Zouhair El Moutaraji took a chance at goal but Williams denied the Wydad forward’s effort at goal and blocked the ball. Downs made their first changes with fifteen minutes left to play, Zwane exchanged with Marcelo Allende and a double substitution of Grant Kekana and Bongani Zungu followed in the extra time.

As the game was slowly nearing the end, Wydad took a free kick and delivered in a mid-air ball, Hamid Ahadad jumped in between two Sundowns defenders to head the ball that flashed past goal. Downs also had their chance to threaten one last time, Shalulile attempted a brilliant acrobatic strike on El Motie’s goal which slightly went to the top of the corner post.

Downs midfielder Allende was issued a red card in the added time when the Chilean went in to mark a challenge. Sundowns held on for a 0-0 stalemate in Casablanca and finished the game with nine men and will host the second-leg encounter in Tshwane on May 20.

This is how we lined up:
Williams, Boutouil, Mvala, Modiba, Mudau, Mokoena, Morena (90′ Zungu), Maema, Zwane © (77′ Allende), Shalulile (90′ Kekana).

D. Onyango, Lebusa, Sirino, Mkhulise, Mashego, Kekana, Zungu, Allende, Mailula.

2 Responses
  1. Ronnie Bothma

    Good result under the circumstances. It goes to show how strong the team is…let’s make it count in Pretoria otherwise all that work would have been for nothing. We need to fill Loftus…on the game itself, I thought both reds were correctly given…I feel sorry for Maema…his momentum carried him into the player. Allende was a bit reckless…it’s a lesson for him…coaches need to speak to him…it was unnecessary…but could have been costly…I know he’s not the sort of player. Set-pieces, corners, crosses remain the biggest threat from Wydad…so we need to guard against that….and also we need to be clever on how to win set-pieces…everyone does it…even if we fake as everyone does…that’s how the African way is…play-acting. It will be difficult to replace Maema and Allende…but I trust the technical team and I trust the players to come in for them.

  2. jero

    Greetings Yellow Nation .Firstly let me Congrats Technical Team and Players great shift it has been a very emotional week for everyone whose involved with this Club. Back in the game I can’t fault much the Players due to what but what I picked up we were giving away position easily in the most cases they were getting the balls from our careless passes. Secondly I believe that we have to improve to our defending of free kicks and corners and on Saturday we will have to score first no matter what, if they can score first that will be a movie. Lastly Mr Ronnie I fully agree with you.