A dominant first half display saw Masandawana secure victory in their first leg encounter on Friday night
Mamelodi Sundowns began their 2017 Caf Champions League campaign with a win.
Masandawana went into the match as favourites as they carried the weight of defending champions into their first leg encounter with Kampala Capital City Authority(KCCA).
Sundowns knew the danger, the current Ugandan Super League log leaders would pose and wanted to take full advantage of the home ground support. Sundowns went into match without the duo of Khama Billiat and Wayne Arendse. Billiat was still nursing an injury and Arendse was serving a suspension. The absence of the Zimbabwean meant Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane entrusted Percy Tau to lead the line alongside Leonardo Castro.
From the onset the Premier Soccer League(PSL) champions looked to assert their authority and the early pressure paid off almost instantaneously. Sundowns defender Bangaly Soumahoro opened the scoring in the second minute as the Ivorians did well to direct his header home from an acute angle. Minutes later Sundowns were awarded a penalty after Thapelo Morena was adjudged to have been brought down in the box. Ricardo Nascimento stepped up to the spot and executed his penalty with precision, doubling Sundowns’ advantage.
The second goal clearly seemed to knock the stuffing out of the opposition who were dazzled and dazed by the Sundowns attack. Coach Mosimane would have been proud of his troops as they put on an exciting display of possession football.
In the 17th minute, Sundowns thought they had their third goal of the evening as Castro found himself on the end of a pinpoint cross. But the Colombian’s goal was disallowed by the referee who blew for an infringement.
Sundowns dominance in possession was also down to the fact that KCCA looked to play on the counter. This allowed Sundowns to boss the midfield which saw the game lose some of its attacking spark.
Castro eventually had another chance on goal but his long range effort was comfortably saved by Benjamin Ochan in the Kampala goal. With the half time whistle looming KCCA finally tested the Sundowns’ keeper. Wayne Sandilands was a passenger for most of the half but made a fantastic save to deny the visitors as both teams went into the interval, following a dominant Sundowns performance.
The second half saw the Sundowns defence tested as KCCA put in an improved performance. The Kasasiro Boys came out of their shell as they grew in confidence and went in search of a vital away goal. However, chances were few and far between as both teams looked promising but did little to trouble either goalkeeper.
The fans at the Lucas Moripe Statdium waited until the 63rd minute to see a shot on goal. But again Sandilands was up to the task as he comfortably held onto a dangerous free kick. Kampala’s constant pressure eventually paid dividends as they grabbed the crucial away goal in the 69th minute. Forward Geoffrey Sserunkuma neatly slotted his effort past a stagnant Sandilands from inside the area.
Sundowns hardly had an opportunity on goal in the second half which only added to Mosimane’s frustration. Nonetheless, Percy Tau had an excellent opportunity to restore his sides two goal lead but the young dynamo fluffed his effort with only Ochan to beat.
The African champions began to regret their lack of penetration in the first half as Kampala had them on the back foot. Nevertheless, the Sundowns defence remained resolute as they secured the victory. Though, Sundowns will be wary going into the return leg as they may be left to rue giving away the solitary away goal.