Mamelodi Sundowns lost 1-0 away to Al Ahly in the return leg of their CAF Champions League quarterfinal tie in Alexandria on Saturday night, but still advanced with relative ease and comfort.
The Brazilians, on the strength of their 5-0 home win over the Red Devils in Tshwane last weekend, move into the semifinals with a 5-1 aggregate triumph. The South African champions will face either Wydad Casablanca (Morocco) or Horoya AC (Guinea).
Ahly nearly claimed a desired early lead when striker Walid Azarou hit the post with a curling effort in the 17th minute, and ‘Downs needed goalkeeper Denis Onyango to make several fine saves, though he was generally well protected by the defence in front of him.
Sundowns were restricted to making chances from counter attacks for the most part and Mohamed El Shenawy was forced into saves to deny Lebogang Maboe and Hlompho Kekana, ensuring the first half ended 0-0.
Ahly finally broke the deadlock midway through the second half, with Azarou heading home from Ahmed Fathy’s right-wing cross, but it didn’t spark the avalanche of goals the hosts desperately needed.
They forced Onyango into more action as they poured men forward, but Sundowns looked comfortable in dealing with whatever the Egyptian giants could throw at them and ultimately emerged as deserved victors in the quarterfinal tie.
Al Ahly (0) 1 (Azarou 68’)
Mamelodi Sundowns 0
Sundowns won 5-1 on aggregate
Ahly: El Shenawy, Fathy, Ashraf, Yasser, Maaloul, Ashour, Soleya (Maher 79’), El Shahat (M. Mohsen 67’), Ajayi (S. Mohsen 85’), Sobhi, Azarou
Sundowns: Onyango, Ngcongca, Arendse, Nascimento, Langerman, Morena, Kekana, Mabunda, Zwane (Lakay 83’), Manyisa (Soumahoro 73’), Maboe (Mahlambi 62’)