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CAFCL: Sundowns advance past CR Belouizdad, confirm semifinal duel with defending champions Wydad

A 2-1 quarterfinal second leg victory on Saturday in Pretoria confirmed passage to the 2022-23 CAF Champions League semifinals for South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who completed a dominant 6-2 aggregate victory over Algeria’s CR Belouizdad with the result at home. Sofiane Bouchard headed CRB into the lead in the first half but Sundowns responded with goals from Themba Zwane and Thapelo Morena to ensure that there was little drama and suspense. Sundowns advance to the semifinals where they will face fellow African titans and reigning CAFCL winners Wydad AC of Morocco.

Following a 4-1 first leg victory in Algeria, there was little hope for CRB but the visitors surprised the home support by opening the scoring. A 24th minute corner kick from Youssef Laoufi found central defender Bouchar for an accurate header past Sundowns goalkeeper Ronwen Williams who was left motionless to react.

However from then on it was all Sundowns who did not allow another shot on target for the remainder of the second leg. Veteran playmaker Zwane leveled the match just before halftime by combining with Morena at the edge of the CRB penalty area to set up an open shot that the South Africa national team player dispatched past keeper Alexis Guendouz to dampen any hopes of an aggregate comeback for the visitors.

Sundowns confirmed their second leg victory within the opening five minutes of the second half when Zwane picked out the run of Khuliso Mudau on the right wing who crossed to a wide open Morena for an easy header into the goal from close range. The Brazilians will now face defending African club champions Wydad in a rematch of their 2018-19 CAFCL semifinal where Sundowns will look to avenge a 2-1 aggregate defeat.

Highlights from Saturday’s second leg are below.

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