Mamelodi Sundowns maintained their unbeaten run in the CAF Champions League group stages, after seeing off USM Alger on Saturday evening.
The Brazilians made three changes from their narrow win over Polokwane City, as Anele Ngcongca, Wayne Arendse and Mauricio Affonso were thrown into the starting line-up, with Mosa Lebusa, Sphelele Mkhulise and Lebohang Maboe all making way.
The game started at a high intensity and the visitors almost went behind in the 13th minute after Zakaria Benchaa had a great chance from close range but Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango was on hand to make the save.
Pitso Mosimane’s troops were looking for their chances on the break but they were often caught in offside positions, while Onyango kept his side in the game again on the half-hour mark with a top save to deny Alger’s Abdelkarim Zouari.
Alger saw a bit more of the ball in the Brazilians’ half in the latter stages of the half, but the Sundowns defence were well marshalled to stamp out any threat.
Masandawana got the good start they needed in the second stanza as Hlompho Kekana broke the deadlock just before the hour-mark after latching onto a poor back-pass before rounding t the goalkeeper to slot into an empty net.
The visitors were under siege from then on, which prompted Mosimane to make a tactical switch with 21 minutes remaining as Lyle Lakay was introduced for Gaston Sirino.
The Algerian side almost found the equaliser with 15 minutes remaining after Aymen Mahious unleashed a threatening strike from outside the box but Onyango pulled off a great save.
Lakay had a chance of his own in the final 10 minutes but his looping strike from the edge of the box sailed narrowly over the bar, as the Brazilians held on, in the end, to clinch a crucial away victory.
The victory sees Masandawana cement top spot in Group C for another match-day, while Alger remains without a victory after three matches.
Here’s how they lined up:
Alger: 1. Zemmamouche, 22. Meftah, 4. Kheiraoui, 3. Hamra, 19. Cherifi, 23. Koudri, 17. Benkhelifa, 11. Zouari, 26. Benhamouda, 15. Ardji, 9. Benchaa.
Sundowns: 14. Onyango, 16. Ngcongca, 4. Langerman, 2. Madisha, 6. Arendse, 15. Jali, 8. Kekana, 18. Zwane, 27. Morena, 10. Sirino, 9. Affonso.
Subs: 1. Mweene, 29. Soumahoro, 13. Mabunda, 7. Lakay, 11. Vilakazi, 25. Maboe, 21. Mkhulise.
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Source – SoccerLaduma