Mamelodi Sundowns edged USM Alger 2-1 in their Caf Champions League clash at Loftus on Saturday afternoon to seal their progression with two games to spare.
Sundowns came into the match knowing that three points would all but seal their progression to the quarter-finals if Wydad Casablanca beat Petro in the other game in the group later in the day.
Their opponents, on the other hand, were looking to stay in the competition and knew that defeat by Pitso Mosimane’s men would knock them out.
Sundowns got off to the better start and created the first chance of the game in the 21st minute when captain Hlompho Kekana played through Sibusiso Vilakazi, but the forward could not beat Alger shotstopper Mohamed Zemmamouche.
Full time at Loftus! Victory for Downs sees us guarantee qualification for the quarter-finals stages of the CAF Champions League!
— Mamelodi Sundowns FC (@Masandawana) January 11, 2020
Just nine minutes later Sundowns came close again, this time Zwane with the chance but Zemmamouche produced a top save to keep the scores level.
Mosimane’s charges finally got their opening goal nine minutes before the break courtesy of Thapelo Morena as he got on the end of an inch-perfect Tebogo Langerman to finish from close range.
The Algerians, though, hit back just before the break as Taher Benkhelifa’s cross was met with a powerful header by Aymen Mahious.
The Brazilians, however, restored their lead just a minute later as Vilakazi found the bottom corner after a lighting counter-attack.
At the break, it was 2-1 to the home side.
Sundowns looked to control the game at the start of the second half by dominating possession and dictating the tempo while USM focused on staying disciplined and hard to break down.
Downs weren’t showing much intention to get forward and eventually conceded a chance as Billel Dziri’s troops were awarded a penalty with three minutes remaining. However, Mohamed Meftah could not capitalise as he cracked the top corner of the crossbar from 12 yards.
With the full-time score 2-1, with Sundowns effectively sealed their progression to the knockout stages.
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