Flying start for Sundowns’ champs league campaign

Nouadhibou reduced to chasing shadows

Neville Khoza Journalist
Marcelo Allende of Mamelodi Sundowns challenged by Sidi Bouna Amar of Nouadhibou during the CAF Champions League match on Sunday
Marcelo Allende of Mamelodi Sundowns challenged by Sidi Bouna Amar of Nouadhibou during the CAF Champions League match on Sunday
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix Staff

Mamelodi Sundowns got their CAF Champions League group phase off to a perfect start with a commanding 3-0 victory over Nouadhibou on Sunday.

Goals in either side of the half by Lucas Costa, Peter Shalulile and substitute Gaston Sirino saw the Brazilians register the comprehensive victory.

Coach Rulani Mokwena rested some of his key players as he tried to manage the legs and also had an eye on the Tshwane derby match against SuperSport United on Wednesday.

Teboho Mokoena and Themba Zwane started on the bench, with Thapelo Morena, Sphelele Mkhulise, Terrence Mashego and Neo Maema playing.

With those changes, Sundowns struggled to find their rhythm earlier on and had a lot of turnovers.

Still without playing their best football, Sundowns managed to find the breakthrough. Costa combined well with Morena in the area in the 22nd minute to slot home at the far post and give his side a lead.

Shalulile doubled the lead five minutes later with a header from Marcelo Allende's corner.

Despite enjoying a 2-0 lead, Sundowns lacked fluidity and their decision-making in the final third was poor as Maema and Morena lacked sharpness when in attack.

Nouadhibou had a few moments but did not trouble Ronwen Williams, who was reduced to a spectator in the opening half.

Sundowns continued where they left off in the first half as they searched for another goal and Morena came close to increasing the lead when he combined with Shalulile, but he ballooned his attempts over the bar in the goal line area.

With the game in the bag, Mokwena made three changes, bringing in Sirino, Lebohang Maboe and Brian Onyango, taking off Shalulile, Mudau, and Costa as he was reserving them for the SuperSport match.

Sirino made an impact immediately as he injected some new life into the Sundowns attack and one of those resulted in a red card.

Goalkeeper Babacar Diop was shown a straight red for a clear foul on Sirino outside the box after he was set through on goal.

In the resulting free kick, Sirino made it 3-0 with a shot in the far post outside the box.

Meanwhile, SuperSport United suffered a 0-1 defeat at the hands of Egyptian side Modern Future in the CAF Confederation Cup.


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