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Sundowns suffer Champions League defeat against TP Mazembe

Sithembiso Dindi Sports Reporter
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena during the DStv Premiership match against SuperSport United at Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena during the DStv Premiership match against SuperSport United at Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Mamelodi Sundowns have suffered their first defeat in the Caf Champions League in 19 months, losing 1-0 to Democratic Republic of Congo giants TP Mazembe.   

Glody Likonza’s header on the hour mark handed the Ravens of Lubumbashi their first win in group A after two outings at Stade TP Mazembe on Saturday.

Sundowns were more dominant in the game, even though at times they found the artificial surface at Stade TP Mazembe to be a challenge and didn’t allow the South Africans to play their normal game of building from the back.

Despite that, they created enough chances and were unfortunate to hit woodwork three times.    

The last time Sundowns suffered a defeat in the Champions League was against Angola’s Petro Atletico on April 16 2022, during the quarterfinals of the 2021/2022 campaign.   

In the previous campaign, Sundowns saw their excellent run in the tournament end in the semifinals when they lost to Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca on the away goal rule.   

Coach Rulani Mokwena’s group had reached the final four of the competition without losing a match.   

Mazembe needed to win the clash against Sundowns to get their Champions League campaign on the road after they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Egypt’s Pyramids in the first match of the group stages.   

Despite end-to-end action in Lubumbashi, no side was able to break the deadlock in the opening half.   

When Sundowns got opportunities upfront with their star attackers such as Peter Shalulile, Lucas Ribeiro, Themba Zwane and Tapelo Morena, Mazembe’s defence did well to avert any form of danger.   

Sundowns came close to scoring on 39 minutes when Zwane, who was brilliantly set up by Shalulile with a header, beat Mazembe’s goalkeeper but was denied by woodwork.     

Cheick Fofana, Likonza and Philippe Kinzumbi had opportunities to put the hosts ahead, but their chances were scuppered by Sundowns’ backline and keeper Ronwen Williams.   

Sundowns did find the back of the net early in the final half of the game, but Shalulile’s header was ruled out as offside.   

Ribeiro had a good chance to score but the Brazilians forward hit the crossbar.   

Likonza finally broke the deadlock on the hour mark with a free header, as Sundowns’ defenders were caught napping.   

The Mazembe skipper finished off a cross by Kinzumbi from the right side of the pitch. Sundowns won their first match of the group stage against Nouadhibou.

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