Masandawana Register Defeat in First Leg Of CAFCL Semi-finals

Mamelodi Sundowns leave Tunisia with a defeat following a 1-0 loss against ES Tunis in the first round of the two-legged semi-finals of the CAF Champions League on Saturday evening at the Stade Olympique Hammadi Agrebi.

In what was a pulsating and exciting encounter, it was the Tunisian side that had the first strike to set the stadium on fire, but Ronwen Williams set himself up well for a great save, denying them an opener of their dreams. ES Tunis tried to play the ball over the top going wide but were mostly found by the away side.

With the game having had a sluggish start, it started to pick up and grow in stature, with Coach Rulani’s men doing a great job to get in possession in a game of few clear-cut chances.

Masandawana almost saw a goal through captain Themba Zwane who slotted it in the box but the offside flag was raised to deny them an away goal. Not so long, a threatening effort from the home side came in the danger box, seeing Marcelo Allende with an attempt to clear the ball away but it hit the crossbar. The rebound chance was headed away by Divine Lunga. Shortly before the halftime break, ES Tunis broke the deadlock after the ball went way past Williams and Allende who tried to run to clear out the line. The goal concluded the first half.

The second stanza granted the Brazilians an opportunity to find an equaliser but it proved to be difficult as their counterparts defended the ball. Masandawana came to life after Thembinkosi Lorch created a threatening opportunity but the shot was taken from a tight angle, seeing the ball pass the face of the box.

Coach Rulani’s men started to show as the fresh legs introduced in the dying stages of the match sparked something and created chances that could have seen them equalise. Another chance came from Lucas Ribeiro who looked to strike a serious shot but the ball found the goalkeeper. The second leg will see ES Tunis start with the upper hand when they meet on Friday evening at Loftus Versfeld.

This is how we lined up: Williams, Allende, Lorch, Modiba, Zwane ©, Aubaas, Kekana, Ribeiro, Mudau, Lunga, Mvala.

Subs: D. Onyango, Lebusa, B. Onyango, Mbule, Morena, Maseko, Maema, Shalulile, Maboe.

9 Responses
  1. Shando

    . As a dedicated supporter of our team, I feel compelled to share some observations following the recent loss over the weekend. Our team’s philosophy revolves around ball possession, yet it was evident that this approach did not yield the desired results in the match. Despite dominating possession, we failed to capitalize on areas that could have posed a threat to our opponents, leading to our downfall in recent games. I am not saying that we need to change the system, but any fan who was watching would have seen a different team just 15 minutes before the game ended. That was the sundowns I know and made some of us to go stadium, unlike the so called “tiki taka”. I am saying this with respect.

    While I respect the decisions made regarding team selection, I must express my concerns, especially regarding the exclusion of players with valuable CAF experience who were left on the bench. As a supporter, my role is to stand behind the team presented on the day, but I cannot help but feel uneasy about certain choices made.

    One notable issue that contributed to our defeat was our vulnerability to small matters such as fouls. It appears that our opponents excel in winning fouls and even simulating them effectively, whereas our players tend to brush off fouls and continue playing, which may give the impression that the fouls were not significant. Instances like Mudau’s foul in the Yanga game and Kekana’s in our match against Esperance highlight the need for our players to be more tactically aware at this level.

    The match against Esperance saw limited chances created. I believe that addressing these concerns and refining our approach will be crucial in enhancing our performance on Friday. I don’t want to say there is favoritism, as we do not know what happens during match preps, but on match day you can see that some players are really struggling. We will be there on Friday. We need support from ALL MASANDAWANA out there.. please come in numbers.

  2. Muzi Kunene

    I heard our coach on postmatch interview yesterday that we were a better side than Esperance and they pack the bus but my question is you can’t dictate how an opponents must play against your team and if we were better we should have scored at least a goal.
    The problem with our coach thinks he’s arrived and better than everyone,you can’t play the same team in all competitions on offer including national call ups and expects those players to perform till the end,this are not robots and it seems the other players are there to give his favourites a match practise at Chloorkop everyday because he doesn’t believe in them.
    Even on Tuesday against Skhukhune he will field his trusted one because he is a man of records he doesn’t want to loose this season whereas we are too far from the second team.I’ve been watching soccer but ain’t haven’t seen a team that is keeping possession on their half and too much backpasses and expects them to hurt the opponents,now every team just sit on the back and watch us doing this silly things they call its chameleon football and at the end our coach will cry about parking the bus they is no such because after they scored that’s where We played offensive football and created opportunities only to be let down by that stupid lazy player by the name of Ribeiro.
    It’s painful what is happening at Downs nowadays whereas we have plenty of good players sitting on the stand and you’ll find other fellow Dawanas calling us plastic fans and not appreciating the good work done by Rhulani,the coach is there to work and produce good results every time and he’s the one who recommended some of all this players that are sitting on grandstand nowadays,pls on Friday stop just for once boo and shout at them even the coach so that they can realise we are not happy akekho umuntu ozoncengwa lana Motsepe is paying them so much money therefore let them sweat,lastly we may kiss Club World Cup goodbye if we loose on Friday because playing at home doesn’t guarantee us to score we even failed to do that against Yanga,stop being obsessed with records let’s field fringe players on Tuesday so that we can be freshier on Friday and field players on merit not on reputation.

  3. Downs4ever

    Muzi you are no plastic fan,those who love this team understand and share the same frustrations.It was gonna be easy to understand if the opponents were playing better than us but,it is Rulani who makes opponents look like they play better than us.If we can check second half we played our football not Rulani’s football and that team couldn’t handle us.This is the semifinals of the biggest club competition in the Africa for crying out loud,you just can’t stick to the same system that is yielding negative results, we struggle against every team we play against,even against second division team.They boy is working against us not for us,I think this coach is playing betting games.We needed players with CAF experience,the likes of Maboe and Nku,players like Lorch are not used to this kind of pressure and by constantly playing them you make them look terrible every game.

  4. Muzi Kunene

    Downs it’s an ambitious team since the days of Zola Mahobe so do us the supporters,everyone whose working must fulfil his or her task because on the contract you signed you promised them that you’ll abide by the contract if not that person must be reprimanded and pls don’t get me wrong he has fulfilled but its not enough because of our ambitions.
    Downs it’s not a team where a coach will say just to avoid relegation or to be on top eight like some of the coaches in Psl,we want the Champs League and Afl again not to be eliminated from semis.Motsepe when He took over he said he wants to conquer Africa therefore akwenzeke ke lokho not only outplay our opponents by possessions but by winning trophies that are on offer.We can’t cry about teams using low blocks against us we must use plan B till they surrender.

  5. Mfana

    There’s only one sickness of Rhulani that is favoritism and had he not selected those players against Swallows in a league match of which is wasn’t crucial even if we lost the game we wud have picked up points somewhere knowing none is a threat in PSL.We r not going 2 b modest abt Rhulani &is full of himself,Esperance never parked the bus they were decisive in attack and that’s why they hit the post which we ddnt.If u r going 2 hav useless possession&boast abt that I don’t know.Players r pushed 2 the limit even fatigued what stops Rhulani 2 make a substitution immediately after half time?Bcoz Lorch &Zwane r not giving us too much &u leave hungry ppl like Mendieta and Sirino at home and expect a miracle from Maseko when u c he’s taking us nowhere hayi hayi.

    1. Thatoh

      Unlucky Masandawana, we know we are good, we just need to fix a few things, what I observed there is no stability in the team chemistry due to chopping and changing at this level of the competition, that should happen at the begining, at this phase we should avoid unnecessary innovations and have a solid selection no time for chopping and Changing.

      2ndly, This thing of insisting to attack through the middle is not working for us and that for me was a turning point for our dismal performance that’s why Shalulile cannot function as his scoring ability relies on wingers to cross the ball, but we insist in this approach even though our scoring tally has dropped and have turned to an average team.

  6. Skhumba

    I think in Tunisia there is no limit when it comes to the number of foreign players that a team can have!! Esperance has almost 11 players foreign players and most of them are internationals in their own country!! Esperance has 9 foreign players!! It’s a very strong team in their own right guys!! They are in our league in terms of strength even better!! We need to come up with a good plan to defeat them. Their coach was coaching in the LA Liga!! I disagree that they parked against us!! That was an open game!! They only defended towards the end of the game to protect their lead!!

    1. Moripi

      I agree with you member, they didn’t park the bus, their defensive structure was amazing, personally I think they were tactically superior than us. I doubt if we’ll win if we approach it the same, possibility of 0-0 draw. But we hoping that the coaches we’ll come up with something, that will help us win, we still believe

  7. Skhumba

    Rhulani needs to use Maseko today if wants to wants to play in the Esperance game so that he becomes match fit!! He has not played a 90mins since he got injured in the afcon tournament!!

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