By Sedara Philip
South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns put up a performance for the days, crushing record champions Al Ahly 5-2 in Pretoria on Saturday to become the second team to confirm their place in the quarter-finals of the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League.
The Brazilians were in emphatic form totally dominating the Egyptians to move to the top of Group B with 10 points, six ahead of Ahly who remain third. Sundowns have now realized an unassailable lead from third and have affirmed their place in the last eight.
Marcelo Allende, Themba Zwane, Teboho Mokoena and a Peter Shalulile double in the second half gave Sundowns the massive victory with Ahly’s consolations scored by Sherif Mohamed and Percy Tau.
The South African side were fast off the blocks and just three minutes into the game, they were leading when Allende scored with a brilliant low drive from distance.
But, Ahly worked their way back into the game and Sherif struck them level in the 13th minute. Sundowns lost the ball in their half and Ahmed Kendouci played Sherif through, the latter striking low into the bottom right with keeper Ronwen Williams yards off his line.
The pace of the game was high, with each side giving in a good account.
But it was Ahly who would get the next goal, Zwane striking the hosts 2-1 up in the 24th minute.The skipper picked the ball inside the box before firing past the keeper after a corner was recycled into the area.
Sundowns kept their dominance and took a 3-1 lead at the break when Mokoena struck a brilliant worldie from distance five minutes to halftime.In the second half, Ahly started off with a double sub Magdy Afsha and Ahmed Abdelkader coming in for Kendouci and Mohamed Taher.
The changes had an impact as Ahly were more effective offensively and they clawed one goal back on the hour mark when Tau finished off an assist from Ali Maaloul.
Ahly’s hopes of a comeback were however dashed in the 71st minute when Shalulile scored the first of his pair before he completed his brace in the 88th minute with a shot on the turn inside the box.
Ahly’s qualification hopes now lie in the balance as they are five points behind second place with two rounds of matches left.