Downs ladies are African champions!

By Michael Madyira

Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies reclaimed the CAF Women’s Champions League following a convincing 3-0 victory over Sporting Casablanca at Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly on Sunday.

A brace by Refilwe Tholakele and a goal from Boitumelo Rabale powered the Brazilians to victory in the Ivorian city of Korhogo where they were backed by a biased and vociferous crowd.

Tholakele thrust Sundowns ahead after 21 minutes from the penalty spot before Lesotho attacker Rabale doubled Masandawana’s advantage three minutes later.

Botswana International Tholakele was back again with 12 minutes to go to seal her double and confirm champions status for the Brazilians who first won this title in 2021.

Sunday’s result completed a successful period for Sundowns whose men had clinched the African Football League seven days earlier.

Masandawana showed intent from the early stages of the contest when Tholakele’s tricky shot forced a fine save from the Sporting goalkeeper Imane Abdelahad.

The Brazilians were finally awarded for their pressure when they were handed a penalty, but after VAR review, and Tholakepe stepped up to beat Abdelahad.

The Tshwane giants continued with their pressure and Kholosa Biyana’s rising shot forced a fine save from a busy Abdelahad but the ball fell on the path of Melinda Kgadiete who set up Rabale.

The Sundowns number 10 then placed her shot into the bottom corner to further Sundowns’ advantage.

Sporting tried to hit back toward the halftime break but Andile Dlamini saved Agueissa Diarra’s effort in a one-on-one situation.

The save justified why Dlamini has kept nine clean sheets in this tournament since its inception and she might have raised her hand up to be considered ahead of Kaylin Swart in the Banyana Banyana set-up.

Dlamini then pulled another great save to deny Chaymaa Mourtaji in a face-to-face situation on 52 minutes.

Tholekele placed the contest beyond the Moroccans’ reach when she turned her marker to beat Abdelahad and score his fifth goal of the tournament, making her the top goal-scorer.

It was an impressive campaign by Banyana ba Style who scored 10 goals and never conceded a single one in this tournament in Ivory Coast.

Pictured above: Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies celebrating scoring against Sporting Casablanca.

Image source: CAF Women’s Football

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