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Mweene’s masterpiece leads Sundowns to a shock victory over Al Ahly in Cairo

In a match all the experts and fans had picked out for excitement the CAF Champions League group stage, Saturday’s Group A clash between Mamelodi Sundowns and Al Ahly in Cairo lived up to its billing. Sundowns held out for a stunning 1-0 victory over the reigning African champions courtesy of Thapelo Morena’s late winner and an excellent defensive performance led by goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene. The South African champions secure first place in Group A with seven points in four games while Ahly remain at just one point through two games.

The match was a counter-attacking masterpiece for Sundowns, who were able to keep a strong Ahly team contained in the first half. The Egyptian side, having rested the majority of its starters for its midweek league win against Misr Lel Makkasa, had most of the ball and launched attacks forward in an attempt to overwhelm the visitors. However, other than a 35th minute Aliou Dieng shot that just missed as well as a dangerous Mohamed Hany cross late on, the opening 45 minutes saw the attacks of both teams mostly shut down.

After the break, the action picked up with intensity with Sundowns upping their level. Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy was caught off guard by a 52nd minute wayward Lyle Lakay cross, but the Egypt national team member was grateful to see the ball crash off his near post and clear. A few minutes later Ahly were fortunate to escape when an intricate Sundowns buildup saw Haashim Domingo set up in an excellent shooting position, but the forward instead attempted to set up strike partner Peter Shalulile and put his pass too far out of reach.

Ahly grabbed back control of the match and were unfortunate themselves not to open the scoring. A 71st minute disastrous back pass by Sundowns saw Mweene forced out of his box to head out of danger, but a miscommunication between him and a defender left Ahmed Abdelkader with a brilliant chance. Mweene did brilliantly to dive back and push the ensuing shot wide, somehow getting his hand back into the penalty area so it was not a handball. In the 83rd minute, Mweene spilled an aerial ball but was bailed out by a retreating Sundowns defender, who was able cover his goalkeeper and clear Ahly’s goal attempt.

The magical moment came for Sundowns soon after in the 85th minute. A ball lofted into the Ahly penalty area was inadequately cleared by Yasser Ibrahim’s header and the ball fell to Domingo, who passed out to Morena for a thunderous shot that flew by El Shenawy into the net. Ahly threw everything forward for an equalizer and had several looks, but Zambia national team legend Mweene came up huge when he somehow got a firm hand to Hamdi Fathi’s header from a Mohamed Magdy “Afsha” corner kick in stoppage time.

Highlights of the thriller are below.

Match Highlights

Kennedy Mweene with a massive late save to preserve Sundowns lead

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