By Michael Madyira
Mamelodi Sundowns tasted defeat in the CAF Champions League for the first time this season after being edged 1-0 by TP Mazembe at Stade du TP Mazembe on Saturday.
Glody Likonza struck on the hour mark to separate the two sides and decide the contest.
After weeks of enjoying victories on the continent, Sundowns finally cracked under pressure in Lubumbashi as TP Mazembe picked their first set of maximum points in Group A.
The Brazilians might comfort themselves by saying they missed six defenders Mothobi Mvala, Grant Kekana, Abdel Boutouil, Rushine de Reuck, Rivaldo Coetzee and Aubrey Modiba.
That crisis allowed Kenya international Brian Onyango to start his first Champions League match of the season.
Sundowns threatened to take an early lead when Peter Shalulile broke loose and forced the Ravens’ Senegalese goalkeeper Alioune Faty to come off his line and avert danger.
Shortly after, Lucas Ribeiro Costa shot just wide as the Tshwane giants dominated play and Shalulile made another charge into the box and again invited Faty to thwart this attack.
The home side almost went ahead from a well-struck free kick by Joel Beya but Masandawana goalkeeper Ronwen Williams made an incredible save on 34 minutes.
With seven minutes before the halftime break, Themba Zwane agonisingly watched his effort from inside the box crash against the woodwork.
Mazembe survived another close shave six minutes into the second half and had the woodwork to thank again for denying Lucas Ribeiro Costa.
As Sundowns were threatening, TP Mazembe stunned their visitors when Likonza headed in a cross from Philippe Kinzumbi.
Masandawana’s bid to hit back was frustrated by Faty who first denied Marcelo Allende’s freekick before saving a Shalulile shot.
Likonza almost doubled the hosts’ lead when he came one-on-one with Williams who did well to close in on the DR Congo international’s shooting angle and save the situation with nine minutes remaining.
The upright again prevented Sundowns after Faty’s attempted save of Khuliso Mudau’s shot had the ricocheting off the woodwork as TP Mazembe held on to their slim lead.
Pictured above: TP Mazembe vs Mamelodi Sundowns.
Image source: TP Mazembe