Mamelodi Sundowns took advantage of an early red card to edge Swallows FC for a 1-0 victory in the opening quarterfinal match from the MTN 8 on Saturday. Themba Zwane scored early in the second half for the reigning South African champions after former Sundowns defender Andile Jali was sent off with a red card inside the opening ten minutes for routine passage to the semifinals.
A new look Swallows side were eager to prove their mettle but suffered a devastating setback after Jali’s dismissal, which took place in the 7th minute when a high challenge from the veteran left Sundowns midfielder Teboho Mokoena on the ground in pain. For their credit the Dube Birds did well to hold out, limiting clear opportunities for a Sundowns side who struggled to take advantage.
The champions came out with renewed purpose after the halftime break and their trademark pressing created the game’s only goal in the 48th minute. Zwane won the ball in midfield and stormed forward with forward Lucas Costa, combining well with the Brazilian whose pass set up Zwane to fire past Daniel Akpeyi in the Swallows goal. From then on it was smooth sailing for Sundowns who only struggled to double their advantage while facing little to no danger from the Swallows attack.
Highlights from the quarterfinal are below.