Caf Champions League: CR Belouizdad 1-5 Mamelodi Sundowns: Brazilians open four-point gap in Group B
Zwane grabbed a brace and an assist in a match which was played at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar el Salam, Tanzania
Mamelodi Sundowns proved too strong for ten-man CR Belouizdad as the Tshwane giants claimed a 5-1 win in their second Caf Champions League Group B game on Sunday afternoon.
Themba Zwane (brace), Peter Shalulile, Lebohang Maboe and Kermit Erasmus all scored for Masandawana, while Amir Sayoud netted the White and Reds’ consolation goal.
The White and Reds were undefeated in their last 16 matches across all competitions having started their Group B campaign against DR Congolese giants TP Mazembe with a 0-0 draw.
Gaya Merbah, who kept a clean sheet against Mazembe in Lubumbashi, DR Congo, started in goal for coach Franck Dumas’ side, while former Al Ahly star Sayoud was deployed in midfield.
On the other hand, Masandawana were enjoying a 20-match unbeaten run across all competitions having won their last five matches including their first Group B clash against Sudan’s Al Hilal Omdurman.
Sundowns head coach Manqoba Mngqithi named a strong starting line-up as he kept his faith in Zwane, who was enduring an eight-match goal drought, while Ricardo Nascimento captained the team.
Masandawana were awarded a penalty just two minutes into the match after Zwane’s goal-bound effort was deliberately handled by Chouiab Keddad, who was given a straight red card.
Zwane then beat Merbah from the resultant penalty to make it 1-0 to Sundowns and the PSL champions launched attacks after taking the lead as they looked to take advantage of their numerical superiority over Belouizdad.
However, the White and Reds defended very well with Mohamed Bouchar and Chemseddine Nessakh looking solid at the heart of the hosts’ defence – making some important clearances and interceptions.
Belouizdad began pushing forward in numbers after the half-work mark and Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango had to come off his goal-line to deny Rayen Hais Benderrouya with a smart save.
However, Onyango was beaten in the 44th minute when Sayoud was sent through on goal and he scored to make it 1-1 heading into the half-time break with Zakaria Draoui providing the assist.
Masandawana started the second-half brightly with Kennedy Mweene having replaced injured Onyango at half-time and the visitors restored their lead through their hard-working striker, Peter Shalulile.
Lyle Lakay’s corner-kick found Shalulile unmarked in the box and the Namibia international made no mistake as he headed past Merbah to make it 2-1 to Sundowns in the 48th minute.
Sundowns were soon 3-1 up in the 55th minute when Gaston Sirino’s delightful pass found Zwane, who then beat Merbah with a first-time finish from a one-on-one situation.
The White and Reds looked to launch attacks down the wings and deliver crosses into the box, but they were either cleared away or easily gathered by veteran Zambian goalkeeper Mweene.
Masandawana regained control of the match towards the end of the game and Lebohang Maboe put his name on the scoresheet in the 75th minute when he scored with a low shot after being set-up by Kermit Erasmus.
Erasmus then sealed Sundowns’ 5-1 win with a simple tap in from Zwane’s cross and Masandawana opened a four-point lead at the top of the Group B standings and they are set to face Mazembe in Lubumbashi on March 6.