KIGALI, Rwanda – Mamelodi Sundowns, 2016 African champions, kicked off their 2018 CAF Champions League campaign with a 0-0 draw against Rayon Sports at the Amahoro Stadium on Wednesday night.
Although Sundowns had their chances and were on top for most of the first hour, the home team ended the game strongly, the result was just about a fair result ahead of the second leg of this first round tie in Pretoria on Sunday March 18.
Sundowns generally bossed first half proceedings in the Rwanda capital and after a purposeful start by the South Africans, they were close to scoring in the sixth minute when Teboho Langerman thumped a volley into the side-netting.
Masandawana continued to impress with their neat interplay, although there was a shot from Percy Tau from range which missed the target and a half chance for Hlompho Kekana inside the box, they were unable to prise open the home defence with much success.
Kekana also had a penalty appeal turned down a few minutes before half-time, although by that stage Sundowns keeper Denis Onyango had been called into action a few times as Rayon began to pose more of a threat up front.
The Brazilians had the first opportunities after half-time as Sibusiso Vilakazi tested home keeper Eric Ndayishimiye, before Gaston Sirino went close with a free kick.
Rayon Sports, however, were finding their rhythm and also had chances as Onyango kept out Eric Rutanga's shot on the hour mark, before Christ Mbondi was denied by the woodwork 10 minutes later.
Both teams pushed hard for a winner with a goal looking likely at either end, but it wasn't to be as the match ended 0-0, Sundowns having failed to get an away goal, but still with a good chance to close out the tie in South Africa in 11 days' time.
African News Agency (ANA)