JOHANNESBURG – The Brazilians’ defensive frailties were once again exposed, this time by lowly Horoya who pierced them with ease and denied Sundowns a win that would have put them level with Wydad Casablanca in Group C.
Sundowns’ coach Pitso Mosimane denied that his team had defensive problems after Barcelona tore them apart last week at FNB Stadium in an international friendly.
It was easy for Jingles to defend his team as Barcelona tears apart every opponent they come up against. But when Caf Champions League group stage debutants, Horoya, also open the Brazilians with ease then it shows that there might be a problem.
Horoya took advantage of Sundowns’ slow defence to get a point that puts them level with Casablanca on four points. Mosimane had said that should they fail to get a win in Conakry yesterday than they shouldn’t lose. But this draw felt like a loss even though Horoya did enough to get a win.
Sundowns now must get six points against AS Togo-Port in their back-to-back meetings in July if they are to advance to the quarterfinals. This draw puts Sundowns in third place with two points from their first two games.
The Brazilians looked like they would return from Guinea with nothing in a see-saw battle, before doing enough to steal a win and then captain Aboubacar Camara ensured Horoya get a point.
The visitors took the lead through Mandela Ocansey who was a thorn on Sundowns’ defenders. The Ghanaian Mandela tormented the Brazilians a week after playing an international friendly in honour of the late former President Nelson Mandela.
But Khama Billiat, in what could have been his last match for Sundowns, stepped up like he has done a million times for Sundowns to find an equaliser and win a penalty that saw Gaston Sirino give the Chloorkop based side the lead. Camara levelled matters late into the match.
Sundowns now have a tough mountain to climb in a group they were expected to dominate along with Casablanca.
Sundowns and Horoya tried to play carpet football in a sandy pitch at Stade 28 Septembre.
Mosimane argued the state of the pitch robs Horoya of showing the beautiful football that they are capable of. The Guinean champions were calm in their approach, hardly looking like novices in the Champions League group stage against former African champions.
Razak Brimah, who was in goal for Sundowns in place of the injured Denis Onyango, was kept busy by the hosts who opened the Brazilians’ defence with ease through their pace and skills. Horoya were only let down by their lack of a killer instinct.
Ocansey was at the end of many of those chances. He made the most of the spaces between the Brazilians’ centrebacks.
The Ghanaian forward eventually put his name in the scoresheet. He slipped in between Sundowns’ defenders and pounced on a good cross to beat his countryman Brimah and put the hosts ahead.
That goal had been coming from the pressure Horoya had put on Sundowns. The Brazilians showed their class by responding well to going down, and eventually take the lead.
But their defence let them down by conceding a soft goal as Camara was unmarked in the box. Mosimane has a month to tighten this defence before Sundowns resume their continental campaign in July.
Horoya (0) 2
Ocansey 51, A. Camara 83’
Mamelodi Sundowns (0) 2
Billiat 69, Sirino 78 pen