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Mamelodi Sundowns v Galaxy Match Report, 2021/01/05

FT
3 - 1
MLS
GLX
K. Erasmus (38)
M. Mvala (67)
T. Morena (81)
T. Sembowa (89)
Loftus Versfeld Stadium
Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 Jwaneng Galaxy (5-1 agg): Masandawana ease into Caf Champions League group stage
18:31 SAST 2021/01/05
Lebogang Ditsele, Jwaneng Galaxy & Andile Jali, Mamelodi Sundowns, January 2021
The Tshwane giants have booked their place the last 16 after easing past their Botswanan foe on Tuesday

Mamelodi Sundowns have reached the Caf Champions League group stage after securing a 3-1 win over Jwaneng Galaxy in their first round second leg match at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Kermit Erasmus opened the scoring before Mothobi Mvala and Thapelo Morena extended Masandawana's lead, while Tebogo Sembowa grabbed Botswana champions Galaxy's late consolation goal. 

Masandawana were looking to avoid a defeat in order to advance to the group stage, having claimed a 2-0 win in the first leg in Lobatse a fortnight ago.

Kennedy Mweene, Andile Jali and Erasmus made their return to the starting line-up as head coach Manqoba Mngqithi made three changes to the team which faced Orlando Pirates over the weekend.
 
On the other hand, Galaxy were hoping to cause an upset by eliminating a much-fancied Sundowns side, who looked set to reach the Champions League group stage for the sixth year running.

Mngqithi's counterpart Losikalame Keatlholetswe made three changes to the team which took on Masandawana in Botswana, with Thabang Sesinyi, Gofaone Molapi and Gilbert Baruti being recalled to the starting line-up.

Galaxy threatened first through former Orlando Pirates midfielder Ricardo Lourenco, whose deflected shot was well saved by Mweene in the Sundowns goalposts a few minutes into the game.

Although Masandawana dominated possession, they were unable to seriously test Galaxy goalkeeper Katlego Mbise as Erasmus and Aubrey Modiba placed their efforts wide of the target.

Lourenco was consistently looking to shoot from range whenever he was in possession of the ball, and he forced Mweene into a magnificent diving save with a curling shot which was heading for the top corner.

The hosts upped the tempo with the half-time break fast approaching and they managed to break the deadlock following a quick move down the left-hand side.

Peter Shalulile burst into the box before playing a cut-back pass for Erasmus, who tapped home to make it 1-0 to Sundowns seven minutes before the half-time break.

Mbise then produced a fantastic double save to deny Modiba to ensure that the first-half ended with Sundowns leading 1-0 on a sunny day in Pretoria.

Masandawana continued to dominate the match after the restart and they were awarded a penalty after Molapi was adjudged to have fouled Shalulile in the box.

Sundowns' stand-in captain Ricardo Nascimento then stepped up and he was denied by Mbise, who dived to his right to pull off a brilliant low save. However, this did not deter the hosts as they piled pressure on Galaxy and they deservedly doubled their lead in the 68th minute when Mvala headed home Modiba's corner-kick to make it 2-0 to Sundowns.

The momentum was with Mngqithi's men in the closing stages of the match and they extended their lead to 3-0 through Thapelo Morena, with second-half substitute Keletso Makgalwa grabbing an assist. 

Makgalwa, who had injected some pace into the Masandawana attack, delivered a delightful cross which was turned home by Morena with nine minutes left. 

However, the Tshwane giants went to sleep at the back and they were punished by Tebogo Sembowa, who pounced on a poor backpass by Mvala, and he netted to make it 3-1 in the 89th minute. 

The goal proved to be a consolation for Galaxy as Sundowns held on to win 3-1 on the day and they advanced to the group stage after winning the tie 5-1 on aggregate, while Galaxy crashed out of the tournament.

Sundowns will be in action this weekend as they take on Baroka FC in a Premier Soccer League match at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday.