Sundowns beat Egyptians by solitary goal

What might aptly be termed “the old Mamelodi Sundowns” beat Egyptian club Haras el-Hodoud 1-0 in a first-leg CAF Confederation Cup game at Atteridgeville’s chilly, overcast Super Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

But the Brazilians will probably find the heat turned up when the second leg is played in sultry Alexandria in two weeks—where Sundowns will again be unable to field their 10 new signings who still have to be registered for this particular competition.

The all-important, solitary goal of the game was scored by Lungisani Ndlela with a header from Josta Dladla’s cross in the 61st minute, and compensated for a succession of aerial attempts from the 2m-tall striker earlier.

Although Sundowns enjoyed a 15-2 advantage in corners overall during the game, Ndlela took some considerable time to gauge his timing and his headers were generally off-target during the opening period.

Ultimately, however, the gangling striker hit the target.

El-Hodoud, however, produced a workmanlike performance, never resorted to negative tactics and generally gave as good as they got from Sundowns’ more skilled and deceptive, but generally docile, attackers.

The Egyptians had two golden opportunities of opening the score in the opening period, with Sundowns goalkeeper Brian Baloyi also fortunate when he dived at the feet of an El-Hodoud player to blunt an ominous attack and missed the ball entirely.

Although the weather helped keep the crowd down to little more than 4 000, the shivering spectators were rewarded by a game in which both teams concentrated on playing constructive football—paving the way, in the process, for what should be a grim struggle for superiority when the teams meet again in Egypt in search of a place in the round-robin stage of the competition.—Sapa

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