Classy Sundowns to fly SA flag - again
Mamelodi Sundowns weathered the storm in more ways than one to march into the group stages of the CAF Champions League after their 2-0 win over Rayon Sports here last night.
Wayde Arendse and Sibusiso Vilakazi scored either side of halftime to move on into the group phase for the third consecutive year.
Sundowns are the only remaining SA side in the competition after Bidvest Wits were knocked out by Desportivo de Agosto.
The downpour that flooded the Loftus pitch minutes before kickoff added a twist to the decisive match: the rain made Sundowns' task that much more difficult.
The visitors nearly caught Sundowns with a sucker punch as Shaban Hussen came close to scoring after a scramble for the ball that was stuck in the puddle in the box early on.
The Tshwane side had successive chances through Gaston Sirino and Percy Tau to score but their attempts flew wide of the target.
Rayon goalkeeper Eric Ndayishamiye was kept busy as Sundowns bombarded his goal.
The underhanded tricks from Rayon began after the game reached the 25th minute.
They faked injuries and tried to get some of the Sundowns players sent off, to no avail. Their tricks could not stop the inevitable.
The opening goal came in the 34th minute after Arendse flicked the ball in from a Tau corner.
The tie had a tense vibe to it because an equaliser from Rayon would have meant they progressed.
But Sundowns got the crucial second goal to give them a comfortable cushion.
In the second half, the home team came out firing from the flanks. It did not take long for Vilakazi to head in following a rebound in the 55th minute after Uruguayan winger Sirino struck the crossbar.