• Sundowns finish second after Wydad defeat

    Mamelodi Sundowns were forced to settle for second place in Group A after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Wydad Casablanca in the Caf Champions League on Saturday, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.

    The Brazilians booked their place in the quarter-finals of the continental tournament after securing a comfortable 3-0 victory over Lobi Stars in their penultimate game of the group stage last weekend.

    Meanwhile, Wydad came into this encounter off the back of a 2-0 defeat against ASEC Mimosas in their respective penultimate Champions League match.

    Pitso Mosimane’s side beat Wydad 2-1 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in their second match in the group stages.

    The home side got off to a good start and dominated proceedings early on as they looked for the opening goal, while Sundowns sat back and soaked up the pressure.

    Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango came to his sides rescue after five minutes when he made a good save to deny Michael Babatunde’s strike from close range.

    The visitors survived a scare in the 20th minute when Onyango gifted the ball to Nahiri after failing to deal with a cross into the area, but the Wydad attacker could not capitalise on the error as he blazed his shot wide of the target.

    Phakamani Mahlambi should handed Sundowns the breakthrough six minutes later, but his curling effort flashed past the top corner.

    At the other end, Ismail El Hadad nearly gave Wydad the lead just before the break, but Onyango stood firm to deal with his strike from point blank range.

    Nothing could separate the two side as they went into the half time break with the scoreline locked at 0-0.

    The Brazilians came out the better side in the second half as Mahlambi tried to play a ball into the box, but no Sundowns player could connect with his inviting ball into the area.

    Mosimane opted to make a substitution after 57 minutes when he introduced Emiliano Tade to replace Mahlambi.

    However, it was the home side who broke the deadlock after 63 minutes courtesy of Mohamed Nahiri, 1-0.

    Sundowns should have levelled matters in the 78th minute but Ricardo Nascimento’s dangerous header forced Wydad keeper Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti to make a save to deny the defender.

    With 10 minutes left to play, Sundowns piled the pressure on Wydad as they looked to get the equaliser.

    However, Wydad held on to their one-goal lead over Sundowns to claim all three points at the Complex Prince Moulay Abdellah.

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