CAF Champions: Mamelodi Sundowns Beat Zamalek in Final

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane is on the verge of winning the CAF Champions League trophy that he has been obsessed with since he started his coaching career in 2001.

Downs thrashed Egyptian giants Zamalek 3-0 in the first leg of continental final at Atteridgeville’s Lucas Moripe Stadium yesterday to have an advantage ahead of the return leg scheduled for Alexandria, Egypt on 23 October.

Downs goals came via the boot of Anthony Laffor and Tebogo Langerman in the first half, while Zamalek defender Eslam Hamed scored an own goal immediately after the break to put matters beyond their reach.

The joyous Downs fans were excited with their team’s incredible performance as they were singing on the edge of their seats the entire match.
Mamelodi Sundowns are Gunning for the Caf Trophy 

Downs are now a step closer to join Soweto giants Orlando Pirates as the only teams in Mzansi to have won the CAF Champions League.

Bucs lifted the trophy in 1995 when they beat Ivory Coast side Asec Mimosas and they almost had their second star on their jersey in 2013 when they lost 3-1 on aggregate to Egyptian side Al Ahly.

Mosimane has transformed Downs from being at the bottom of the Absa Premiership table in 2012 when he replaced Johan Neeskens to be crowned PSL champions last season and securing spot in the continental showpiece.

The journey that Pirates went through in the continent helped Mosimane prepare for the tough challenges they endured to reach the final and the former SuperSport United mentor has also learnt that scoring more goals at home is vital if they are to win the cup.

Sundowns were reinstated into the Champions League via the backdoor after DR Congo side AS Vita got kicked out for fielding a suspended player when they eliminated them in the second round on an away goal.

Nobody had thought “The Brazilians” will overcome the so-called group of death where they were pitted with the likes of EF Setif (Algeria), Enyimba FC (Nigeria) and Zamalek.

But Downs proved their worth as they secured a place in the semifinals with a game to spare. They also beat Zamalek twice in the process 2-1 and 1-0 respectively to set a date with Zambian side Zesco United in the last four.

Downs continued with their impressive form as they defeated Zesco 3-2 on aggregate to reach the final. Zamalek finished second behind Downs in the group and met Moroccan side Waydad Casablanca whom they beat 5-4 on aggregate despite losing the second leg. This was after they thumped the Moroccan side 4-0 in the first leg.

Mosimane started with the same line-up that overcame Zesco as he gave Laffor a chance to impress him after his disappointing performances when Downs lost 3-0 to Bidvest Wits in the MTN8 Cup final.

Laffor broke the ice in the 31st minute with a powerful shot. Langerman doubled the lead in the 40th minute when his cross went into the roof of net beating keeper Ahmed Elshenawy.

Hamed deflected Percy Tau’s cross into his own net a minute into the second half while trying too clear the ball to safety. - Daily Sun 

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