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Semi-finals in sight as Sundowns upset Zamalek

Monday, 18 July 2016

Zamalek's Shikabala (R) clashes with Mamelodi Sundown's Thabo Nthethe in Cairo, on July 17, 2016
Zamalek’s Shikabala (R) clashes with Mamelodi Sundown’s Thabo Nthethe in Cairo, on July 17, 2016

South African club Mamelodi Sundowns upset Zamalek 2-1 in Egypt Sunday to all but clinch a CAF Champions League semi-finals place three months after being eliminated from the competition.

The Pretoria club need one point from a return match against Zamalek this month or a visit to Nigerian team Enyimba during August to be certain of a last-four spot.

Last April, Sundowns were eliminated on away goals after drawing 2-2 on aggregate with V Club from the Democratic Republic of Congo in the final qualifying round for the group phase.

But the Kinshasa outfit were disqualified for fielding a banned player, Malian Idrissa Traore, and Sundowns got a second chance.

Making the most of it, the South Africans beat Enyimba last month and the win over Zamalek gives them a three-point Group B lead.

Sundowns have six points, Zamalek three and Enyimba are pointless after also losing at home to the Egyptian club. The top two finishers advance to the semi-finals.

The other club in the mini-league, Entente Setif of Algeria, were kicked out after their supporters forced the abandonment of a match against Sundowns last month.

Tiyani Mabunda put Sundowns ahead after 18 minutes at the Petrosport Stadium in Cairo by latching on to a rebound off the post and slamming the ball past goalkeeper Ahmed El Shenawy.

Zamalek took advantage of a defensive mix-up to level on 37 minutes as hesitancy between goalkeeper Denis Onyango and centre-back Thato Nthethe allowed Mohamed Ibrahim to score.

Zimbabwean Khama Billiat struck the 67th-minute winner by firing a low shot into the corner of the net soon after Colombian Leonardo Castro had been foiled by the woodwork.

Zamalek losing completed a miserable weekend for Egyptian clubs with record eight-time African champions Al Ahly held 0-0 at home by Group A pacesetters Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.

Zesco United of Zambia used home advantage to defeat ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast 3-1 in the same section.

A Wydad side coached by former Wales striker and manager John Toshack have seven points, Zesco six, ASEC three and Ahly one halfway through the group phase.

Source by: AFP

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