Sundowns beat Sporting Club Casablanca 3-0 in the Champions League final at Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo, Ivory Coast, on Sunday evening.
This was Sundowns’ second triumph in the competition in their third successive final, having won the inaugural crown in 2021 before losing to AS FAR 4-0 last year.
This is the Brazilians’ second continental title in less than a week after Sunbdowns’ men’s team won the inaugural Africa Football League (AFL) last Sunday.
Both the ladies and men’s triumph came against Moroccan opponents, summing up the club’s stature as the powerhouse of African football.
By the 25th minute, the Brazilians had all but rendered this match a non-contest, going two goals and completely dominating the encounter.
It was a dream start and finish that even coach Jerry Tshabalala didn’t see coming, having stressed that this game will be a difficult match, despite beating Casablanca 1-0 in the group stage.
But this Sundowns team proved that they have big-match temperament, taking the game to the Moroccans from start to finish - to the delight of the locals who supported them from the first minute to the last.
The Ivorians didn’t cheer and celebrate alone in the stands, they were joined by Downs’ first lady Precious Moloi-Motsepe, who was with her husband, CAF president Patrice Motsepe.
Sundowns were awarded a penalty in the 20th minute. Chuene Morifi’s effort came off the hand of N’guessan Kofi, but referee Suavis Iratunga allowed for play to continue.
But after consulting with the video assistant referee (VAR), which directed her to the monitor, the Burundian referee awarded Sundowns the penalty.
Tholakele Tebogo made no mistake from the spot, slotting home her fourth goal of the tournament as Sundowns took a step closer to the promised land.
Five minutes later, Sundowns put daylight between them and the Moroccans, as Boitumelo Rabale unleashed a grass-cutter past Imane Abdelahad in the SCC goal after Melinda Kgadiete’s cut-back.
Sundowns were nearly three goals to the good soon afterwards after Kholosa Biyana launched a curling thunderbolt into the top corner only for Abdelahad to claw to the ball out to make the save.
5 - Refilwe Tholakele is now the leading scorer at the 2023 CAF Women's Champions League with five goals, also the most ever scored by a @SundownsLadies at a single #CAFWCL edition. Starring. pic.twitter.com/WMPDKlkdJr— OptaJabu (@OptaJabu) November 19, 2023
Her rebound, though, fell to the path of Morifi, who quickly found Kgadiete, but the Banyana international’s goal-bound diving header was also saved by Abdelahad.
Having kept clean sheets since the start of the tournament, Sundowns’ No 1 Andile Dlamini ensured she kept five clean sheets across all five matches en route to the second star.
Her first real test tonight, though, was saving Agueissa Diarra’s shot from close-range after Casablanca’s first threat midway through the first half.
And after Casablanca returned with vigour in the second, Dlamini again proved why she’s one of Africa’s best, saving Chymaa Mourtaji’s close-range effort to consolidate her record.
But Sundowns proved just why they are “Banyana ba Style”. Lebogang Ramalepe found Kgadiete who skinned her marker before setting up Tebogo, who found her second goal.
It was a brilliant tournament from Sundowns and every SA football fan will hope that Bafana Bafana came come to Ivory Coast during the Africa Cup of Nations next year and replicate these heroics!