Al Ahly 1-0 Mamelodi Sundowns (1-5 Agg): Mosimane's men oust Al Ahly despite second-leg loss

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Masandawana did the job in the first-leg, and they held on to progress to the final four despite losing 1-0 to Al Ahly on Saturday night

Despite a brave showing by Al Ahly in which a Walid Azarou goal gave them a slender win, it was not enough to book their place in the Caf Champions League semi-finals as Mamelodi Sundowns claimed a 5-1 aggregate win.

With Sundowns having done the spade work in Tshwane, the advantage was firmly in the favour, and they were looking to complete the job and book their place in the final four on Saturday.

On the other hand, Al Ahly were desperate to write the wrongs of last weekend’s 5-0 humiliation and turn things around, and that showed in their intent from the onset as talisman Azarou was played through on goal early on, but Denis Onyango stood tall as he avoided an early goal that surely would have given Al Ahly the much-needed confidence.

Although Sundowns could lose by a scoreline of 4-0 and still advance, head coach Pitso Mosimane took no chances naming a rather strong line-up.

There was no place for Gaston Sirino in the matchday squad as Oupa Manyisa was handed a rare start alongside regulars such as Lebohang Maboe and Sundowns' top scorer in the competition Themba Zwane, who has scored six goals this season.

In spite of Mosimane's attacking line-up, Sundowns looked content to sit back and allowed Al Ahly to come at them while they waited to use their pace on the counter-attack.

This frustrated many of the fanatical 30 000 strong home crowd due to Sundowns’ resilience in the opening minutes as they soaked up the pressure.

However, the risk of sitting back meant that a mistake would easily see them punished and the woodwork came to the away side's rescue with 15 minutes played as Amr Al Sulaya rattled the post, much to the relief of Pitso Mosimane and his technical team.

Sundowns were holding on bravely and many of their players were taking some heavy knocks as the home side were making their frustrations known which wouldn’t have bothered Sundowns too much as they were able to use the opportunity to eat up some minutes.

One player that was producing an impressive first-half showing was Onyango, who showed just why he's so highly rated across the continent.

Not only was he an impervious mountain in the air, but he produced another great save in the first half to deny Azarou with a superb stop.

With Sundowns so deep, the gap between Maboe and the midfield was far too big which did not allow the Tshwane giants to use the 24-year-old’s pace upfront, and subsequently put them under pressure.

Mosimane then responded by using Thapelo Morena as a second striker in order to narrow the space and involve Maboe more in the game.

This change seemed to work towards the end of the half and Maboe had a rare opportunity as his shot from distance forced Mohamed El-Shenawy into a save which kept the scores level as they headed into the half-time break.

Knowing that Al Ahly needed five unanswered goals in 45 minutes sounded like an insurmountable task which put the pressure on Al Ahly’s shoulders.

But the home side had the ball in the back of the net early on following the restart, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside, leaving Al Ahly forward Junior Ajayi rather bemused. 

The Red Devils boasted a 20-match unbeaten home record in the Champions League prior to the game and they were showing why Cairo has been such a fortress. But Sundowns fought fire with fire and were not intimated by the aggressive nature of the game nor the hostile atmosphere.

With Al Ahly putting Sundowns under the cosh, former Al Ahly attacker Phakamani Mahlambi was introduced, but it was at the other end where Sundowns had to hold their nerve.

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Sundowns' resistance was eventually breached with an impressive header by Azarou 20 minutes from time.

This meant that Sundowns needed to hold their nerve and remain cautious with Al Ahly needing four more goals in order to take the game into penalties which prompted the introduction of Bangaly Soumahoro who made his first appearance of the season.

The defensive solidity was needed as Al Ahly threw everything at the 2016 African champions but it was all in vain as Sundowns held on to claim a famous aggregate win.

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