CAF : Mamelodi Sundowns off to a winning start over Setif
Mamelodi Sundowns beat ES Setif 2-0 in the first Group B clash of their CAF Champions League campaign on Saturday evening in Algeria.
Stade 8 Mai 1945 was packed and the atmosphere was intimating but Mamelodi Sundowns managed to hold on for a win.
Sundowns started the game under pressure with the host playing a high pressure game thus forcing them into rushed passes and that disturbed they positional play
El Setif nearly found the opening goal through 19 year old teenager forward Ismail Saidi’s snap-shot.
Setif had a period of sustained pressure by keeping the ball away from the Brazilians
The deadlock was broken mid-way through the half when Tiyane Mabunda produced a moment of magic.
Completely against the run of play after – Tiyane Mabunda produced a moment of magic.
The midfielder, who only recently won a place in Pitso Mosimane’s starting line-up after being out of favour for nearly two seasons, unleashed a left-footed strike from 25-yards out, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance.
It was an emotional moment for Mabunda as he cried after scoring the goal.
At the break Sundowns were still under attack fro Setif but held on to the lead
The Black Eagles started the second half with much more urgency and Downs suffered a major blow during that period as the impressive Asavela Mbekile was stretchered off barely two minutes in.
However, the South Africa international soldiered on despite being in clear discomfort.
Mosimane’s tactics of containing the Algerian side looked quite effective as it clearly frustrated the home side, forcing them into long-range efforts and poorly executed free-kicks.
Just as the the opener was scored against the run of play through a moment of individual brilliance – Billiat proved why he was voted the Premiership Player of the Season.
The tactic of Dolly bringing the ball out quickly to the Zimbabwean forward worked perfectly – as he picked the ball up wide on the left touchline before turning his marker inside out.
The former Ajax man then dropped his shoulder to ghost past the next defender before slotting home his side’s second of the evening beyond the onrushing Setif goalkeeper for his 15th of the season.
Sundowns continued to frustrate the home side as they started lashing out at Billiat with off-the-ball fouls, while fans let off flares before exiting the ground minutes before the end of regulation time. A large section of their fans then infiltrated the pitch, destroying advertising boards.
They fans who left early didn’t miss much as the South African side went on the secure a memorable victory on the road despite the game being momentarily delayed by the pitch invasion.
Sundowns now move top of Group B with Enyimba and Zamalek still to play on Sunday.