Sundowns kick off new African Football League with a win in Angola

FILE - Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rhulani Mokwena. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

FILE - Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rhulani Mokwena. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Published Oct 21, 2023


Chilean Marcelo Allende opened the scoring as Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa won 2-0 at Petro Luanda of Angola on Saturday in an African Football League (AFL) quarter-final first leg.

Allende struck on 67 minutes and substitute Thapelo Maseko netted after 80 minutes at the Estadio 11 de Novembre in Luanda.

Argentine Junior Mendieta passed for Allende to fire past goalkeeper Hugo Marques from close range and end the stalemate.

Maseko had been on the pitch just one minute when he sprang an offside trap, rounded Marques and scored from a tight angle.

The momentum swung toward the South African visitors in the second half after Petro controlled the opening 45 minutes.

Deivi 'Gilberto' Vieira missed a great chance to put the home side ahead three minutes before half-time when his weakly struck penalty was blocked by goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.

The clubs meet again, in Pretoria on Tuesday, with Sundowns virtually assured of advancing to the semi-finals of the new competition, where they will most likely face Al Ahly of Egypt.

Record 11-time African champions Ahly held Simba of Tanzania to a 2-2 draw in Dar es Salaam on Friday in the opening first leg after squandering several scoring opportunities.

The other two first legs are set for Sunday with TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo playing Esperance of Tunisia before Enyimba of Nigeria meet Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.

The AFL underwent a name change several months ago from CAF Africa Super League amid fears the original title might be linked with the failed 2021 attempt to form a European Super League.

Initially, a 24-club, 197-fixture tournament culminating in a single-match final, it was reduced to eight teams with two-leg quarter-finals, semi-finals and final due to limited sponsorship.

Prize money has been drastically reduced with the winners set to pocket four million dollars -- $7.5 mn less than initially planned.