Sundowns get precious Champions League win

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Thapelo Maseko of Mamelodi Sundowns challenges Ahmed Samy of Pyramids FC during the CAF Champions League 2023/24 match between Pyramids and Mamelodi Sundowns held at 30 June Stadium in Cairo, Egypt on 19 December 2023 ©Weam Mostafa/BackpagePix
  • Post published:December 20, 2023

Mamelodi Sundowns picked up a precious 1-0 away victory at Egyptian side Pyramids in the CAF Champions League on Tuesday, with Teboho Mokoena scoring the only goal of the game.

The importance of this victory cannot be overstated against a tough opponent away from home, with Sundowns finding themselves embroiled in a tough pool. They move to seven points from their four games, level with TP Mazembe at the top, and now three ahead of Pyramids and Mauritanian side Nouadhibou.

Sundowns must still travel to the latter and host Mazembe, both in February, so there is work still to be done. But a draw or loss here would have had them on the back foot, something they are not used to in pool play.

Mokoena added another gem to his collection of spectacular goals. Siphiwe Tshabalala, and perhaps to a lessor extend Hlompho Kekana, are the only other South African players to consistently net absolute belters like Mokoena.

This was a log drive into the corner of the net from long range that gave the Pyramids keeper no chance. It is incredible how sweetly he hits the ball.

Pyramids had not lost a home match in any competition in their previous 32 games (W23 D9), a superb record that dated back to a 3-1 defeat to El Gouna in August 2022.

In more good news for coach Rulani Mokwena, the list of injured player at Sundowns was hitting double-figures a few weeks ago, but things seem to have eased a bit.
They now only have the perennially injured Abubeker Nasir (quad), Neo Maema, Junior Mendieta (both hamstring), Abdelmounaim Boutouil (adductor) and Mosa Lebusa (achilles) on the sidelines.

Sundowns year is far from over, they travel to Cape Town City in the DStv Premiership on Sunday (Christmas Eve). They then host Moroka Swallows on Dec. 27 and Polokwane on Dec. 30 in a whirlwind end to 2023.

If they can keep their 100% run going in the league it will be some achievement.