RABAT – Mamelodi Sundowns went down 1-0 to Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca in a CAF Champions League match in Rabat, Morocco, on Saturday.
With Nigeria’s Lobi Stars beating ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast 2-0 in the other group fixture, this allowed Wydad to join Sundowns in qualifying from Group A for the last eight stage of the competition.
The only goal of the match came from defender Mohamed Nahiri who sent in what seemed to be a right-footed cross from the left in the 63rd minute. However, the effort had enough curl on it to end up in the top of the furthest corner of the Sundowns goal.
The visitors went into attack mode and Ricardo Nascimento was unlucky not to get the equaliser in the 78th minute when his header was well kept out by young Wydad goalkeeper Ahmed Ubbink.
Sundowns spent much of the first half relying on counter-attack football, with their defence under huge pressure from Wydad.
Goalkeeper Denis Onyango did well to pull off a point-blank range save from Nigerian striker Michel Babatunde in the opening minute.
The Sundowns No 1 produced a well-timed run off his goalline to put his body on the line to stop Ismail El Haddad’s blast effort shortly before halftime.
Phakamani Mahlambi was a constant thorn in the flesh of the home team’s defence as his curving shots caused many an anxious moment for the Wydad rearguard.
Sundowns will now turn their focus back to the Premiership title chase, as they look to host fellow trophy-chasers SuperSport United on April 7.
African News Agency (ANA)