• Jali makes debut as Sundowns lose in Caf CL

    Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Oupa Manyisa

    Andile Jali made his Mamelodi Sundowns debut as the Brazilians slumped to a 1-0 loss against AS Togo-Port as the Caf Champions League group stages resumed on Tuesday afternoon.

    Both teams came into their third Group C encounter at the Stade Municipla Stadium in Lomo, Togo, in search of their first win of the group stages after Downs drew their opening two fixtures against Wydad Casablanca and Horoya, while AS-Togo Port lost both games against the same opposition.

    Pitso Mosimane’s men started the encounter well, as they dominated possession of the ball while the Togolese side were clearly happy to sit back and look to hit Downs on the counter.

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    Both Sibusiso Vilakazi and Oupa Manyisa tested Jean-Rober Klomegan in the AS Togo-Port goal inside the opening 30 minutes but the keeper was equal to their efforts to keep the scores level.

    Then seemingly out-of-nowhere the Sundowns defence went to sleep and the home side snatched the lead. A ball was played forward, and it bounced off Ricardo Nascimento, falling to the feet of Ayi Hunlede who made no mistake in placing his shot beyond Denis Onyango. The home side taking the lead with 39 minutes gone.

    1-0 at the half-time break and despite controlling much of the game the South African champions were trailing.

    The second half quickly fell into the same pattern as the first, as Downs continued to control the possession while the Togolese team looked to catch them on the counter.

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    Sundowns looked to turn up the heat but were met with stubborn resistance by AS Togo-Port who were doing all in their power to keep their clean sheet intact.

    Vilakazi had a chance on the 74-minute mark when he drifted into the box but as he ran towards the byline, he could not decide whether to shoot or cross and in the end, he did neither as the ball tamely rolled to Klomegan.

    Tebogo Langerman then came close when his thumping shot from a difficult angle cannoned off the upright.

    The Brazilians continued to press forward in search of an equaliser but were unable to find the vital goal.

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    The loss leaves the 2016 Caf Champions League winners bottom of their group with just two points from three games as they now face the possibility of a group stage exit.

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