Denis Onyango howler a killer blow as Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly beat Mamelodi Sundowns in Cairo
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CAPE TOWN – Denis Onyango’s late howler has left Mamelodi Sundowns with a mountain to climb if they are to progress to the CAF Champions League semi-finals after a nightmare evening in Cairo.
Although trailing 1-0 due to a wonderful strike from Taher Mohamed in the 23rd minute, Masandwana were still in control of this first-leg quarter-final at the Al-Salaam Stadium heading back to Tshwane next week.
However, Oyango’s fatal mistake in the final minute of the tie allowed Shalabi to double the home team’s lead. The Red Devils will now travel with a precious two-goal advantage to South Africa.
It was an embarrassing error from the experienced Ugandan international, who
mistimed an innocuous cross that left him floundering outside his 18-yard box. Realising that he was not able to handle the ball, Uyonga allowed the ball to bounce where Shalabi was waiting to pounce.
It really was a tale of the two goalkeepers with Al Ahly’s El Shanawy delivering a sparking performance to ensure the home team did not concede an all-important away goal.
Sundowns would really be gutted with the overall result for they were the dominant force throughout the evening. Not only did the visitors control the possession with Rivaldo Coetzee putting in another sparking shift, but they also created the most clear cut chances without converting unfortunately.
The majority of them feel to striker Gift Motupa whose ability to get away from his marker and rise above the Al Alhy defence proving to be a real handful for the home team.
Motupa had two golden chances within quick succession in the first half when his headers almost put Sundowns in the lead. On the first occasion the ball struck the post, while the second was just a few inches wide.
But such is the quality of the defending African champions that they require just a sniff of a goal to get on to the scoreboard. From the resultant goal kick Pitso Mosimane’s team launched an attack from deep with the ball eventually finding Taher Mohamed inside the Sundowns’ box.
The Egyptian international picked the ball up on the left flank before cutting onto his right foot and bending in a rasping drive into the top corner that left Onyango with no chance.
Sundowns were not deterred with conceding within the first quarter of the game as they continued to press for the equaliser. Defender Mosa Lebusa had a chance to level matters on the hour, but El Shanawy was once again there to keep the Al Ahly goal in tact.
The Al Ahly No 1, though, kept his best for later when he produced a sparkling full-length diving save to deny a rasping shot from Motupa in the 70th minute.
At that stage Sundowns would have been content with a 1-0 reversal with the second-leg home tie still to come next week at the Lucas Moripe Stadium, but Onyango’s late error could now prove fatal for the Brazilians.