Mamelodi Sundowns fail to scale Pyramids in Loftus Caf Champions League clash

Khuliso Mudau of Mamelodi Sundowns is challenged by Fagrie Lakay of Pyramids during their Caf Champions League match at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Sunday

Khuliso Mudau of Mamelodi Sundowns is challenged by Fagrie Lakay of Pyramids during their Caf Champions League match at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Sunday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Dec 10, 2023


Mamelodi Sundowns moved to the top of Group A in the Caf Champions League despite drawing 0-0 with Pyramids FC at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Sunday afternoon.

This was Sundowns’ second successive game without a win in the group after losing to TP Mazembe. But thanks to their win in the opener and better goal difference, they lead the pile.

All four teams in Group A are on four points, having won one, drawn one and lost one since the start. But Sundowns will want to win in their next game.

And luckily for them, they’ll use this game for corrections as they’ll face Pyramids in the next match in the group on December 19 in Egypt.

Downs who’ll feel hard done after not burying the few chances they created will return to domestic matters on Wednesday. They’ll host Cape Town Spurs in the league at this very same venue.

The Brazilians’ sheer dominance in the domestic league and triumph in the maiden African Football League etched their status as the best team in Africa at the moment.

However, it was their campaign in the Champions League that was going stamp that off. After all, this is the elite club competition in the land.

They came into this match having had a mixed start in the group stage, winning one game and losing then other - the last one to Mazembe.

And it was that loss to the Congolese that saw the Egyptians arrive in Pretoria with ample belief that they’d be able to beat Sundowns.

Pyramids were not only fancying their changes, they had already amassed a win in the group, beating Mazembe before losing to Noudhibou.

But while Sundowns had a fully-fledged team, Pyramds were without striker Fiston Mayele owing to visa issues as the scoring duties lied over the head of South African Fagrie Lakay.

The first half still ended goalless, though, thanks to a lacklustre half. Both sides failed to create clear-cut and didn’t finish off set-piece chances.

Karim Hafez thought he had put the ball in the back of the next for Pyramids after slotting home from close-range, but he was adjudged for pushing Khuliso Mudau before taking his shot.

The Brazilians, though, changed the script and controlled possession. They struggled to make in roads in Pyramids’ final third due the visitors’ solid structure.

Sundowns real chance of the first half was Mosa Lebusa’s header that was parried away by goalie Ahmed El Shenawy as Pyramids breathed a sigh of relief.

The Brazilians had finished the half having made a change, replacing an injured Abdelmounaim Boutouil with the speedy Thapelo Morena.

Morena was more involved in the second half where Sundowns started with more vigour only to be let down by their finishing in front of goal.

Peter Shalulile, who had a quiet first half, raced through goal after a long ball from goalie Ronwen Williams but he was stopped in his tracks by two Pyramids’ defenders with El-Shenawy to beat.

Shalulile should have made up for lost time after connecting with Marcelo Allende’s corner-kick but his header sailed inches wide of the target.

Pyramids had a chance of their own after a mix-up at the back led to Williams committing, leaving space behind him, but Lakay failed compose himself and pass the ball into an empty net.

Shalulile thought he had left it a late with a volley - after Mudau’s cross - but the Namibian was adjudged for an offside as Sundowns continued to dig deep.

Pyramids ended the match with a man down after Osama Galal received his marching orders but that didn’t aid to Sundowns advantage as the match ended goalless.

IOL Sport