Mamelodi Sundowns secured a 4-1 victory over CR Belouizdad in the first leg of their CAF Champions League quarter finals on Saturday night in Algeria.
Goals from Peter Shalulile, Neo Maema and Cassius Mailula were the difference on the night as The Brazilians moved closer to their Champions League quest. The Tshwane giants got off to a dream start inside four minutes when Shalulile opened the scoring board, Downs got their first corner when Belouizdad tried to clear out the ball in their box.
Teboho Mokoena delivered the corner kick from the right side of the pitch, the home side failed to clear the ball out of their half when Aubrey Modiba replayed the ball back into the box and Shalulile got to the end of the cross with a header to take the lead. Masandawana continued to knock on the door in the opening minutes before the home side could settle into their rhythm.
Twenty minutes into the game, Downs produced a great team goal. Shalulile sliced the ball between two defenders to find Maema who tapped home with a first-time shot after Alexis Guendouz failed to collect. Pressure continued to mount on CRB and when they made a mistake in their own half, Thapelo Morena was close by to collect the ball and shared it with Themba Zwane who gave the ball to Shalulile, the Namibian striker pulled a shot but it was blocked. After the half hour mark, Mokoena delivered a long free kick towards goal but the keeper was in the right position to collect.
Further chances would fall to The Brazilians but the scoreline remained at 2-0 for much of the first half and the home team threatened as the game was approaching half time. Emmanuel Iwuala shot from the side but saw his shot blocked out and went out for a corner. Belouizdad pulled one back from the corner through Miloud Rebiai and walked into the tunnel trailing behind with one goal.
Resumption of play saw both sides pick up where they left off, but it was Masandawana who found an early opener in the second half through Shalulile and extended the lead to 3-1, capitalizing on the defenders errors. Downs looked lethal on attack using their wingers, Morena’s brilliant effort at goal hit the woodwork and Belouizdad regained possession.
The Brazilians found their way back into attack, Zwane and Mbule had chances each at goal but they were unlucky to get past Guendouz. Belouizdad looked to find answers through Mokhtar Belkhither with a cross into the box, Wamba Djouffo pulled away from two defenders but Williams made a save to deny any chances at goal for their hosts. Shalulile planted an angled shot and nearly scored a hat trick with his curled shot hitting the goalposts.
A triple substitution of Abubeker Nasir, Sphelele Mkhulise and Cassius Mailula was made in the seventieth minute from Masandawana’s bench, Zwane, Morena and Maema went off. Fifteen minutes later, Bongani Zungu made his way in for Mbule and Rushine De Reuck exchanged with Shalulile.
Williams made a comfortable save from a long in coming shot outside the 18 area. Immediately after the turnover ball for the hosts, Iwuala went wide off target. Sundowns continued to pile on the pressure before the South African Champions found the back of the net, Mailula got on to a rebound from the keeper, with the initial shot coming from Nasir’s attempt at goal.
The Brazilians walked away with four goals at the Nelson Mandela Stadium and will host CR Belouizdad in the return leg at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Saturday, 29 April.
This is how we lined up:
Williams, Mbule (84′ Zungu), Mudau, Morena (70′ Mailula), Mvala, Modiba, Mokoena, Zwane (70′ Mkhulise), Maema (70′ Nasir), Boutouil, Shalulile (87′ De Reuck).
- Onyango, De Reuck, Zungu, Sirino, Maboe, Mkhulise, Mashego, Mailula, Nasir.