Sundowns held to a goalless draw against Young Africans

You are currently viewing Sundowns held to a goalless draw against Young Africans
  • Post published:March 31, 2024

Mamelodi Sundowns played out to a goalless draw against Young Africans FC in their first leg of the CAF Champions League quarter-finals at the Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

The way the clubs got to even, though, was different; Young Africans of Tanzania, a knockout stage rookie, were easily defeated by Sundowns, the previous champions.

Petro, whose greatest Champions League performance was making it to the 2022 semifinals, struggled mightily to hold TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The heat and humidity in the Indian Ocean city of Dar es Salaam contributed to the matches’ varying styles, with Young Africans and Sundowns frequently playing at a near-walking pace.

On a large pitch in the southern mining city of Lubumbashi, Mazembe consistently attacked at a high speed, effectively utilising their wings, but were let down by subpar finishing.

With just one goal from the first three quarterfinal matches—which saw title-holders Al Ahly of Egypt defeat Simba of Tanzania in Dar es Salaam on Friday—the quarterfinals begged for clinical strikers.

Sundowns had a lineup full of South African and South American talent, but they only managed to score twice out of ten attempts, and neither of those goals tested Mali custodian Djigui Diarra.

Young Africans chose to attack Sundowns down the middle on route one, which created some nervous moments. Kennedy Musonda, a Zambian, was conspicuous in front of the 60,000 spectators.

In an attempt to break the deadlock and give the Tanzanians an aggregate edge, Argentine coach Miguel Gamondi brought on Ivorian Joseph Gnadou and Ghanaian Augustine Okrah, but to no avail.

Sundowns were given a free kick deep in added time, right beyond the area, but Teboho Mokoena, the captain and set-piece specialist, missed the mark.

To the dismay of a throng of 18,000 spectators, Mazembe, the five-time African champions who have struggled in recent seasons, had 28 goal attempts against Petro, but just four went in.

Petro were appreciative of their opponents’ wastefulness and 38-year-old goalie Hugo Marques for their eighth straight Champions League clean sheet.

Oscar Kabwit Tshikomb, who is eighteen, attempted a close-range shot early in the first half, but Marques superbly blocked it.

After coming on at halftime, Malian Cheick Fofana wasted a fantastic opportunity for Mazembe by shooting wide after slipping past the defence halfway through the second half.

On April 5, Sundowns will play Young Africans in Pretoria, and on April 6, Petro will play Mazembe in Luanda.

Photo by Weam MostafaBackpagePix