Yannick Zakri of Mamelodi Sundown 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Sunday Sep 17, 2017. 17:23
Yannick Zakri emerged from the bench to great effect as Mamelodi Sundowns beat Wydad Casablanca 1-0 in a 2017 CAF Champions League first-leg quarterfinal clash at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Sunday.
The Brazilians clinic on home soil as they now turn their attention to the second-leg in Casablanca, boasting an unbeaten record on their travels in this year's competition.
Sundowns - chasing a first home win of the season - showed their intent from the onset as Hlompho Kekana guided his rasping effort inches wide of goal in the eight minute.
Many in the crowd though that he ball had rattled the back of the net, but to their disappointment, Kekana's effort had whistled off target.
This, though, is how good it would get for the hosts in the opening stanza with the Moroccan giants happy to sit back and absorb all the pressure, and hit the defending champions on the counter-attack.
Mohamed Ounnajem should've capitalized after 'Downs coughed up possession in a dangerous area, but Motjeka Madisha and Thapelo Morena got back in a flash to clear from danger with 33 minutes on the clock.
The visitors ended the half on the front foot with four successive corner-kicks, but the hosts held firm. Goalless at the interval.
Pitso Mosimane introduced Yannick Zakri following the break with the Ivorian providing the desired impact following a sustained spell of pressure.
A well worked corner-kick routine - which included a delightful touch by Themba Zwane - guided home by the attacker in the 71st minute.
The closing stages would offer little in terms of goal-scoring chances as Sundowns now prepare to jet off to North Africa full of confidence - eager to do the job in North Africa once more.
The reverse fixture is set to take place at the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca next Saturday, 23 September 2017.
Mamelodi Sundowns (0) 1 (Zakri 71')
Wydad Casablanca (0) 0
Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango; Morena, Arendse, Madisha (Soumahoro 82'), Langerman - Kekana, Manyisa, Vilakazi (Zakri 46') - Zwane, Tau, Castro (Nthethe 87')
Wydad Casablanca: Laaroubi; Noussir, Rabeh, Atouchi, Gaddarine, El Haddad (Khadrouf 78'), Nekach, Saidi, Ait Ben Idir (El Kaeti 67'), Nicaise Daho, Ounnajem