ATTERIDGEVILLE – Mamelodi Sundowns resurrected their Caf Champions League hopes courtesy of this emphatic victory at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Friday night with a 2-1 win over AS Togo-Port.
Pitso Mosimane’s team rendered the match over as a contest early in the first half at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.
Winless and bottom of the table going into this fourth clash of the group phase in the continent’s premier knockout competition, the South African champions knew it was victory or bust.
And they took the game by the scruff of the neck against a Togolese side that stunned them 1-0 last week.
Jeremy Brockie should have scored within the first 60 seconds, but the New Zealand striker blasted the ball over the bar from inside the small box after a good attack from the right opened up the visitors’ defence.
There was no such miss from Gaston Sirino on 12 minutes though, the livewire attacker toe-poking the ball home after receiving a fantastic through ball from Themba Zwane.
Sirinho was soon playing creator in a brilliant team attack.
Receiving the ball on the left side of the field, he twisted and turned his marker before delivering a splendid low ball into the box.
Sibusiso Vilakazi impressively scored with a back-heel to give the home side a comfortable lead that they took to the halftime break.
They should actually have added to those two goals, such was Sundowns’ dominance.
There was an opportunity for Zwane to score a third on 20 minutes, but the midfielder’s attempt ricocheted off a Togo-Port defender.
Sirinho then unselfishly tried to set up Brockie when shooting for goal looked the better option, and his attempt was blocked.
Brockie, yet to score for Sundowns in an official match since joining them from SuperSport United in January, was then denied by the visitors’ goalkeeper from close range.
Brockie had the early chance of the second half, but he blasted the ball over the top.
Against the run of play, Denis Onyango found himself having to come to the Brazilians rescue with a good reflex save to stop a goal-bound free kick by Togo-Port.
In the second half, the Togolese number one pulled off a stupendous save to parry away Tebogo Mangerman’s shot that was screaming all the way into the net.
A few minutes later, Langerman blasted the ball over after coolly controlling a long cross with his chest but his volley only succeeded in troubling the bats’ flying patterns.
But then Togo-Port pulled one back late in the game through substitute Kokou Kloukpo, who chipped the ball over the oncoming Onyango to set up a jittery finish for the South Africans.
But they held on for their first win of this group stage and with five points from four matches, they remain in contention for a spot in the knockout stage.
They have two matches to go, a home clash with Horoya and a trip away to Wydad Casalablanca.