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CAFCL: Mailula leads Mamelodi Sundowns past Al-Hilal for winning start in Group B

Rising star Cassius Mailula continued his torrid run of form on Saturday in the opening match of Group B at the 2022-23 CAF Champions League, scoring the match winner in Mamelodi Sundowns’ 1-0 home victory over Sudan’s Al-Hilal Omdurman. The 21-year-old was on hand to finish after midfielder Neo Maema’s shot from distance was spilled into Mailula’s path, giving Sundowns a winning start to their group stage campaign. Sundowns continue CAFCL play next Friday in Cameroon against Coton Sport and Al-Hilal return to Sudan for a matchup with Egypt’s Al Ahly.

Sundowns were in control during the match but the Sudanese visitors kept things close until the end. Following a spell of sustained pressure the hosts found the game’s only goal in the 25th minute. Maema found space at the edge of the Al-Hilal penalty area and unleashed a powerful drive on target. Hilal goalkeeper Ali Abu Eshrein got in front of the effort but spilled the ball in front where the opportunistic Mailula reacted quickest to finish from close range.

Mailula should have had a second soon after halftime when he snuck in behind the Hilal defense to latched onto a lofted pass to provide an instinctive finish but was wrongly flagged offsides as the replay showed he was clearly on. Hilal defended well and remained in the match but the Crescent struggled to create opportunities. Sundowns keeper Ronwen Williams denied a firm long range strike from Hilal substitute Ahmed Yahya Saddig close to the hour mark before Hilal’s chances evaporated late on after Altayeb Abaker’s second yellow card for an intentional handball.

Highlights from the match are below.

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