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Sundowns Beat Yanga To Reach Champions League Semis

  • April 5, 2024
  • 3 min read
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Sundowns Beat Yanga To Reach Champions League Semis

Mamelodi Sundowns have reached the CAF Champions League semifinal after Young Africans defender Ibrahim Hamad missed a spot kick going wide in the second leg at vibrant Loftus Stadium on Friday night. 

In a tight game in Pretoria, Sundowns won 3-2 in the shootouts, with Marcelo Allende, Lucas Ribeiro, and Neo Maema scoring theirs for the Tshwane giants.  

Augustine Okrah and Joseph Guede were the scorers for Yanga, who were the better side in the second half.   

The game had to go straight on penalties after it finished goalless in the 90 minutes.  

As expected, Sundowns hogged the ball in the first half, pressing Yanga up top, who were content to sit deep and catch the Tshwane giants on the counterattack.

It was tough for the home side to get the openings to unlock Young Africans, who applied a triple-decker in the boisterous crowd at Loftus Stadium.  

When Yanga got those counterattacks, Stephane Azizi Ki, who saw his spot kick saved, was dangerous – going close with a shot and seeing his cross flat wide with no one in the box. 

Thembinksi Lorch should have put Sundowns in front after he received a flick-on in the first half, but Djigui Diarra spread himself big to block his shot with his leg. 

As Sundowns had the bulk of the ball in the first stanza, they continued to be frustrated and Yanga goalie Diarra made things worse as he was killing time whenever there was a contest.        

Sundowns continued to dominate possession in the second half, but the reinforced defense of Yanga that was predicted by coach Rulani Mokwena before the game continued to be applied by the visitors.  

Out of nowhere, Aziz Ki proved to be troublesome for Sundowns, unleashing a cracking strike to beat Ronwen Williams in the 59th minute which cannoned off the crossbar and appeared to be over the line.  

But the entire circumference of the ball appeared to have not crossed the line and VAR said no goal, much to the relief of the crowd that was starting to be nervous.  

In European leagues or FIFA-sanctioned events, only the goal line can judge those events and not VAR.  

As Sundowns continued to be frustrated, coach Mokwena bravely took off Themba Zwane, who was very quiet in this match, and replaced him with Thapelo Maseko.  

Mokwena also hauled off Lorch with Gaston Sirino taking his place in search of an elusive goal. 

With 12 minutes before the regulation time, Yanga was unlucky not to find a goal, with Azizi Ki sending a delightful cross but Clement Mzize failed to apply the finish in front of Williams’ post. 

As no goal was coming, the match went to penalties and William was the star yet again, saving two spot kicks.

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