Mandela misses as Sundowns secure victory over Belouizdad to advance to semis

© Mamelodi Sundowns

CAFCL Mandela misses as Sundowns secure victory over Belouizdad to advance to semis

Festus Chuma 20:32 - 29.04.2023

The Kenyan defender is currently out with a back injury and will likely miss the first leg tie.

Brian Mandela’s Mamelodi Sundowns booked their spot in the CAF Champions League semi-finals after securing a 2-1 victory over CR Belouizdad in the quarter-final second-leg tie played at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria.

Sundowns progressed with a 6-2 aggregate, having won the first leg in Algiers, Algeria, 4-1 last weekend.

Msandawana were without eight of their key players, including the Harambee Stars defender, who is nursing a back injury that had also made him unavailable for the first-leg tie last Saturday.

In the match, CR Belouizdad went ahead in the 24th minute courtesy of Sofiane Bouchar but Sundowns responded with goals from Themba Zwane at the stroke of halftime and Thapelo Morena just four minutes into the second half.

Belouizdad coach Nabil Kouki heaped praise on Sundowns after the match insisting that they are currently the best team in the continent.

"Mamelodi Sundowns are the strongest team in Africa right now. Playing this team is challenging, but the game had everything. If you talk about football, it's money," he said.

"All the coaches worldwide can see that Mamelodi Sundowns are on a higher level in Africa than the other teams are not equals."

Sundowns had qualified for the quarterfinals after finishing top of Group B ahead of record champions Al Ahly of Egypt.

In the past three seasons, Sundowns' Champions League campaign has ended at the quarterfinal stage.

Last season they were eliminated in the last eight by Angolan side Petro Atletico and in their previous two editions, they were knocked out in the same hurdle by Al Ahly.

Their semi-final opponents, Wydad, made it to the last four after seeing off Simba SC of Tanzania 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 aggregate scoreline on Friday night.