Sundowns see off Belouizdad to secure semifinal berth

Sundowns see off Belouizdad to secure semifinal berth
Thapelo Morena of Mamelodi Sundowns celebrates goal during the CAF Champions League 2022/23 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and CR Belouizdad at the Loftus Stadium, Pretoria on the 29 April 2023 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Saturday Apr 29, 2023. 17:06

Mamelodi Sundowns saw off the challenge of CR Belouizdad 2-1 (6-2 on aggregate) at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Saturday to advance into the semifinals of the CAF Champions League.

Sitting on a comfortable 4-1 lead after the first leg of this quarterfinal tie last weekend, the Brazilians put in a stylish display to claim a second victory over the Algerian club via goals from Themba Zwane and Thapelo Morena.

Sundowns started strongly and had sights of goal for Neo Maema, who shot over the crossbar on 16 minutes, and Zwane, who stung the palms of goalkeeper Alexis Guendouz with a powerful drive on 23 minutes.

Yet Belouizdad claimed the lead in the 24th minute via defender Sofiane Bouchar, who got up highest to meet a corner kick and headed home via the back of Morena to make it 1-0 to the visitors.

Sundowns had a strong appeal for a penalty rejected by VAR after the half-hour mark, but their persistence in attack paid off in the 45th minute, as Zwane exchanged passes with Morena before shooting into the bottom corner, via a deflection off a defender, for 1-1 at half time.

CRB made a double change at the start of the second half, throwing on Abdelmoumen Chikhi and Aimen Bougerra, but ‘Downs scored a second goal in the 49th minute to effectively end any hopes of comeback from the visitors.

A slick passing move ended with the overlapping Khuliso Mudau clipping in a cross from the right by-line which was headed home at the far post by an unmarked Morena for 2-1 on the day and 6-2 overall.

The hosts had further chances to add to their advantage, but ultimately eased off the throttle and went into game management mode, seeing out the remainder of the time in comfort.

Sundowns will face old rivals Wydad Casablanca in the semifinals next month after the reigning champions overturned a 1-0 deficit against Simba SC on Friday night, claiming a 1-0 win of their own before triumphing on penalties.

Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 2 (Zwane 45’, Morena 49’)

CR Belouizdad (1) 1 (Bouchar 24’)

Sundowns won the tie 6-2 on aggregate

Sundowns: Williams, Mudau (Maboe 77’), Mvala, Boutouil, Modiba, Mokoena (Zungu 77’), Mbule (Mkhulise 68’), Morena, Zwane, Maema (De Reuck 84’), Shalulile (Sirino 77’)

Belouizdad: Guendouz, Belkhiter, Keddad, Bouchar, Laouafi (Chikhi 46’), Selmi, Rebiai, Bouras (Boussouf 82’), Ait Abdesslem (Bougerra 46’), Iwuala (Regbha 62’), Wamba (Belkhir 62’)

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