Terrific Downs put Nouadhibou to the sword

By Michael Madyira

Mamelodi Sundowns fired warning shots to their CAF Champions League rivals with a convincing 3-0 victory over FC Nouadhibou in a Group A opener at Loftus Versfeld on Sunday.

Lucas Ribeiro Costa thrust the Brazilians ahead 22 minutes into the contest before Peter Shalulile placed Sundowns firmly in the driving seat by grabbing their second goal six minutes later.

Substitute Gaston Sirino then finished off the Mauritanians with 16 minutes remaining as Masandawana immediately shot to the summit of Group A.

Nouadhibou played the last 20 minutes of the match with a man down following a red card to goalkeeper Babacar Diop.

It was a one-sided affair in which Sundowns were completely in charge of proceedings and could have won by a wider margin.

The visitors are participating in the Champions League group stage for the first time ever and they arrived in Tshwane with a record of six straight Mauritanian league titles just like Sundowns’s PSL record.

Masandawana coach Rhulani Mokwena had the luxury of benching his captain Themba Zwane and Teboho Mokoena.

This gave opportunities to midfielders Sphelele Mkhulise and Neo Maema as Thapelo Morena was back from injury.

Rushine de Reuck made his first season appearance as Sundowns missed injured defenders Aubrey Modiba, Rivaldo Coetzee, Grant Kekana and Mothobi Mvala.

Things started to fall apart for Nouadhibou as the hosts stamped authority and this time around, Shalulile rose highest to head in a corner kick taken by Marcelo Allende.

Four minutes into the second half, Morena had a low shot saved by Nouadhibou’s Diop before the Sundowns utility player returned to balloon his effort over the bar from close range with only the goalkeeper to beat moments later.

The hosts thought they had further extended their lead on 68 minutes but Morena’s goal was ruled to have been scored from an offside position.

Shortly after, Sundowns were left with some numerical advantage after Diop was red-carded for fouling a charging Sirino.

The Uruguayan then beat the newly-introduced custodian Mamoudou M’bodj from the resultant well-struck freekick to make it three-up for the hosts and seal victory.

Pictured above: Mamelodi Sundowns forward Lucas Ribeiro Costa celebrating with Peter Shalulile.

Image source: Mamelodi Sundowns


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