Belouizdad scupper Sundowns' 28-match unbeaten run and Champions League home record
Mamelodi Sundowns lost 2-0 to CR Belouizdad of Algeria in their uninspiring Caf Champions League‚ group stages clash at Loftus on Friday afternoon.
Sundowns‚ who had already qualified for the quarterfinals next month‚ saw their 28-match unbeaten run in all competitions snapped with this defeat while CR Belouizdad have progressed to the knockout stages.
This was sweet revenge for Belouizdad as they lost 5-1 to Sundowns in the away leg that was played in neutral Tanzania last month.
For the Brazilians‚ this defeat has also put a stain on their home record as they have now suffered their first defeat in the Champions League at Loftus or Lucas Moripe Stadium Pretoria in almost four years.
In the starting line-up‚ Sundowns’ coaching team gave rare starts to the likes of Brian Onyango‚ Khuliso Mudau‚ George Maluleka‚ captain Hlompho Kekana and Aubrey Modiba and Sibusiso Vilakazi.
The move did not bear any fruits as the numerous changes destabilised their momentum and as a result Downs suffered this defeat that was not expected against this modest CR Belouizdad side.
Sundowns went into this clash without some of their influential players like Denis Onyango‚ Mosa Lebusa‚ Gaston Sirino‚ Themba Zwane‚ Andile Jali and Rivaldo Coetzee‚ who were rested.
Belouizdad took the lead just before the half-hour mark though their talismanic attacker Amir Sayoud‚ who capitalised on a schoolboy error by Sundowns goalkeeper Ricardo Goss.
Goss somehow lost concentration and laid the ball into the path of Sayoud on the edge of the penalty box and the visiting attacker composed himself to drive the pass into the net for the opener.
Belouizdad increased their lead on the stroke of half time through a powerful close-range header from attacker Ahmed Gasmi after he connected with a cross from Zinelaadibine Boulakhoua.
Sundowns shift their attention to the bread and butter business of the DStv Premiership and the Nedbank Cup next week where they face Chippa United on Monday and Orlando Pirates on Thursday.