Sundowns advance despite Wydad defeat

Cape Town – Mamelodi Sundowns advanced to the next round of the CAF Champions League despite losing 1-0 to Wydad Casablanca in Saturday’s Group A clash at the Stade Prince Moulay Abdallah in Rabat.

Sundowns were under pressure from the outset and Denis Onyango in goal had to be on his toes inside the first 10 minutes as he showed quick reflexes to save Michael Babatunde’s close-range shot.

Not long afterwards Wydad threatened again as a mistimed stop from Onyango dropped at the feet of 27-year-old defender Mohamed Nahiri, yet he struck wide with the goal gaping midway through the opening stanza.

Soon after the visitors nearly hit the front as the explosive Phakamani Mahlambi broke into a pocket of space, before his curling strike whistled just wide of the top corner just before the half-an-hour mark.

With that said, the home side again came close before the break as winger Ismail El Hadad forced Onyango into another point blank save. It ended 0-0 at the interval.

In the second period, the dominance of the home side would eventually count as they hit the front. Nahiri proved to be the hero as his long distance strike gave Onyango little chance in goal.

The Brazilians tried to respond and came close to a leveler in the 78th minute. Brazilian centre back Ricardo Nascimento was nearly the beneficiary however his glanced header from a cross was tipped away by goalkeeper Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti.

There was little action left to speak of as Downs finished second in the group, while Wydad also advanced to the next round as winners in the bracket.

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