Mamelodi Sundowns secured a 1-0 victory over Zamalek in their Caf Champions League Group B clash at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday to reach the semi-finals of the competition.
Sundowns will now end Group B as winners and are set to face either Wydad Casablanca or Zesco United in the semi-finals, after the PSL champions won all their group stage matches.
The Brazilians should have taken the lead after just seven minutes as Leonardo Castro did well to create space for himself in the box but ended up blazing his shot over the crossbar.
Sundowns enjoyed most of the possession in the first half, with Teko Modise and Hlompho Kekana dictating play in the middle of the park. In the 38th minute, Sundowns forward Khama Billiat pounced on a loose pass in the Zamalek defence and powered towards goal, cutting the ball back inside and past the last defender onto his left foot before goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shenawy the Zimbwabean in a one-on-one situation.
The Egyptians were quite happy to sit back and soak up the pressure in the first-half, although they struggled to catch Sundowns on the break, as they went into the break goalless.
After a cagey start to the second half, the Brazilians came close to open the scoring in the 58th minute as Tebogo Langerman’s strike from distance went inches wide of the upright.
Sundowns eventually broke the deadlock in the 79th minute when Zamalek’s defender Ali Gabr deflected Percy Tau’s low cross from the left into his own net, giving the host a 1-0 lead.
Billiat almost doubled the host lead after skipping into the box and unleashing a powerful strike but the Zamalek goalkeeper was on hand to deny the forward before Castro headed the rebound over the crossbar.
The victory means Sundowns have now topped Group B to advance to the Caf Champions League semi-finals.
Image: Caf website