Sundowns edge closer to CAF Champions League glory
The team produced one of the finest displays in a continental football final on Saturday.
JOHANNESBURG - Mamelodi Sundowns produced one of the finest displays in a continental football final, as they hammered Zamalek of Egypt 3-0 in the first leg of the CAF Champions League final at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
Sundowns went into the match as the underdogs, based on the incredible pedigree and history Zamalek have in the competition, but the home side drew strength and impetus from their capacity crowd to come out on top.
It was a sea of yellow all across the 'Masterpieces' ground, with fans at full volume, clearly making it hard for the Zamalek players and technical staff to even think, let alone play well.
It was also evident that the North Africans went into the match looking to intimidate, not only the players, but the fans and club officials as well.
A small group of supporters tried to force their way into the VIP area before the match and a mini scuffle broke out between security and the fans, but it was quickly quelled and proceedings continued smoothly.
On the field, Sundowns made their intentions clear as they dominated ball possession from the first whistle, dictating the rhythm of the game immediately.
While the hosts found goal scoring chances difficult to convert in the opening exchanges, they would not be kept quiet for too long.
Against the run of play, striker Anthony Laffor put Pitso Mosimane's side in the lead with a splendid goal, cooked from defence.
Hlompho Kekana's sharp eye played a vital role as his through pass put Laffor in a great position to turn the Zamalek defence inside out, and then calmly place the ball beyond the goalkeeper.
Tebogo Langerman was next with another scintillating goal - he worked the Egyptians well on the right and then out of nothing he curled the ball from the throw-in line into the far post - to send the crowd into a frenzy.
With the game seeming out of reach for the traveling side, Percy Tau engineered the final blow, finding himself in some good space in the box and then taking a chancing shot, which fortunately its way into the back of the net, thanks to an error from the Zamalek defence.
Sundowns are well aware of the dangers that lie ahead of them in the second leg, as their opposition have the requisite artillery to overturn the massive deficit and steal the championship from under their feet.
The boys from Pretoria are expecting a hostile reception when they arrive and play in Alexandria on Friday, but with a three goal cushion, South Africans and the rest of the continent will be expecting them to wrap the match up and collect the elusive star above the badge honour.
So far, Orlando Pirates are the only team to conquer Africa and if all goes well on the night of 21 October, Sundowns will become the second side in this country to achieve the feat, with Mosimane becoming the first South African coach to reach the pinnacle of continental football.