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Downs fall short

By unknown | May 12, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mamelodi Sundowns crashed out of the African Champions League despite beating Sudan champions Al Hilal 1-0 in Atteridgeville in a hard fought third round, second leg tie yesterday.

Mamelodi Sundowns crashed out of the African Champions League despite beating Sudan champions Al Hilal 1-0 in Atteridgeville in a hard fought third round, second leg tie yesterday.

There was no score at half-time. Al Hilal won 4-3 on aggregate.

Trailing 4-2 from the first leg played in Khartoum two weeks ago, the South African champions had to win 2-0 to go into the quarterfinals.

Despite controlling both halves and creating enough goal-scoring chances, Downs failed.

The under pressure Al Hilal somehow managed to survive and end Downs and club president Patrice Motsepe's dream of conquering Africa for this season.

Al Hilal irritated the home crowd with continual time wasting and gamesmanship in the second half.

Goalkeeper Elmuz Mahjoub was finally yellow carded by Eritrean referee Emmanuel Eyob in the 84th minute for delaying tactics.

Sundowns were all over their visitors in a one-sided opening half. They created four decent chances to the single goal-scoring opportunity that Al Hilal carved out in the opening period.

Downs impressed the 6000 plus crowd that enjoyed a warm Pretoria Sunday afternoon with their patient buildup and were unlucky not to have gone into the break at least a goal up.

All Hilal were content to soak up the pressure and defend their two-goal lead. It was obvious that while Downs enjoyed the lion's share of possession they would need something special to unlock the visitors' tight defence.

Lerato Chabangu headed past the Sudanese upright after 11 minutes. That was the sign of more attacks to come. Two minutes later veteran Zimbabwean striker Peter Ndlovu rolled back the years by waltzing past two defenders but his shot went straight to the grateful Al Hilal keeper Mahjoub.

Al Hilal's only attempt at scoring came from a shot from striker Kelechi Osunwa in the 18th minute that Downs keeper Brian Baloyi did well to fist away for a corner.

After endless attacks by Downs, Surprise Moriri got the breakthrough when he beat Majoub with a shot from inside the penalty area.

The goal shook the Sudanese champions who dropped their negative system and adopted a more positive approach.

Baloyi came to the rescue on the hour mark when he brilliantly stopped Mohamemed Tahirosman's pile-driver. From the rebound Saif Masawi ballooned the ball wide of the Downs goal.

Masawi wasted another chance in the 69th minute when he tried and failed with a bicycle kick from inside Downs' danger area.

Then Downs coach Trott Moloto went for broke when he took off defender Luvhengo Mngomeni and brought on Uruguayan striker Bryan Aldave and played with three strikers from the 72nd minute.

But despite playing the better soccer, Downs failed to get the all important second goal that would have given them a win on the away goal rule and a place in the quarterfinals of Africa's most prestigious club competition.

Al Hilal nearly equalised late in the game, but Tahirosman blasted over the crossbar with only Baloyi to beat.

l Ajax Cape Town are out of the Confederation Cup after losing 5-0 to Mount Cameroon in an away match yesterday. The West African club are through to the next round on a 6-5 aggregate.

Ajax, who did not take along their regular team, won the first leg 5-1 in Cape Town two weeks ago.

Ajax decided to rest most of their regular players ahead of the big Premiership against Santos this week. - Sapa and Sowetan


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