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AFL: Maseko wonder goal puts Mamelodi Sundowns ahead in semifinal first leg clash with Al Ahly

An early second half strike from Thapelo Maseko was the difference in Sunday’s 1-0 African Football League semifinal first leg victory for South African champions Mamelodi Sundowns over Egypt’s Al Ahly at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria. The rising star fired in a beautiful long range effort to give the reigning DStv Premiership champions a lead to defend when the teams meet again in Cairo on Wednesday.

Having clashed in the last five editions of the CAF Champions League, the familiar foes met again with plenty at stake and hosts Sundowns seized the initiative. Masandawana dominated possession against a defensive Ahly formation even if clear opportunities were few and far between. Maseko came closest to scoring in the first half when his header from a Teboho Mokoena cross was well saved by Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy.

The urgency increased for Sundowns after halftime and following a 47th minute long distance effort from Aubrey Modiba that clipped the post on its way wide, the hosts snatched the lead five minutes later. Maseko received a pass from Modiba twenty-five yards from goal and in one fluid motion turned and crafted a perfect strike that El Shenawy had no chance of saving as the ball nestled into the corner of the goal.

Sundowns continued to dominate and Ahly never got out of their defensive posture. However the Egyptian club were able to limit the damage and escape with only a one-goal deficit to overturn when they host the second leg in front of their home supporters. Sundowns and coach Rhulani Mokwena have avoided defeat in their last two matches at Al Ahly, a result that will be good enough to advance the club to the final.

Highlights of the semifinal first leg are below.

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