Saturday Apr 02, 2022. 17:22
Mamelodi Sundowns maintained their unbeaten record in the CAF Champions League with a convincing 3-0 victory over Al Merrikh at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Brazilians finished top of Group A on 17 points after recording five wins and one draw from their six matches, with goals from George Maluleka, Surprise Ralani and Kermit Erasmus getting the job done on matchday 6.
The DStv Premiership champions had the lion’s share of the possession in the first half and completed over twice as many passes as the opposition.
Masandawana didn’t create all that many chances but they almost scored with their first attempt and went on to break the deadlock moments later.
After a quiet start to proceedings in Johannesburg, Ralani latched onto a pass from Lesedi Kapinga in the 14th minute and dinked the ball over Mohamed Mustafa from outside the area, only to see his effort hit the left post.
However, the opener arrived soon afterwards as Maluleka got on the end of Aubrey Modiba’s corner to steer his header past Mustafa.
The visitors were restricted to shots from range, with Algozoli Hussien pulling one wide of the left post on 21 minutes before Dhiya Mahjoub blazed a free-kick well over the crossbar from a long way out 10 minutes later.
Maluleka went closer from a set-piece of his own on 28 minutes that just cleared the target and Downs were good value for their one-goal lead at the interval.
Haashim Domingo threatened to double their advantage nine minutes into the second half with a volley that flew inches wide of the left post after Andile Jali had picked him out inside the box.
The hosts were putting on a clinical display as Ralani made it 2-0 with a composed finish into the bottom left corner of the net from inside the area on 66 minutes.
Sundowns made three substitutions shortly afterwards and the changes had an almost immediate effect as substitute Erasmus thumped a volley beyond Mustafa from range to put the game to bed.
Reyaad Pieterse was finally called into action five minutes from time when he pulled off a fine save to deny Elsamani Saadeldin from distance to preserve his clean sheet.
Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 3 (Maluleka 15′, Ralani 66′, Erasmus 72′)
Al Merrikh (0) 0
Mamelodi Sundowns: R. Pieterse, G. Kekana, M. Lebusa, R. De Reuck, A. Modiba, G. Maluleka (K. Erasmus 68′), A. Jali (T. Mokoena 80′), S. Ralani, H. Domingo (G. Sirino 68′), N. Maema (L. Maboe 68′), L. Kapinga (T. Zwane 80′).
Al Merrikh: M. Mustafa, T. Elnour, M. Karshoum, B. Khamis, A. Mohammad (A. Yousif 90+2′), D. Mahjoub, A. Taifour, W. Alla, E. Saadeldin, A. Hussien (M. Eldai 90+2′, M. Idris (R. Agab 74′).