Here is the story: Mamelodi Sundowns remained on top of group B after putting on a brave display to draw 2-2 Against Al Ahly SC at Al Salam stadium last night.
In an intense CAFCL encounter, Mamelodi Sundowns drew first blood with Shalulile finishing with a close range effort from a Cassius Mailula assist.
The Red Devils equalized in the 59th minute through Abdelmonem’s header, before El Shahat gave them the lead in the 74th minute.
Thapelo Morena leveled matters for the Brazilians in the 80th minute to the disappointment of the vocal Al Ahly fans.
Al Ahly had missed a penalty early in the second half, with Ronwen Williams showing why he is Mzansi’s number one with a great save from a Hany effort.
The result left Al Ahly SC in a difficult position in group B, although they have a game in hand, they remain third in the group, with their chances of quarter final qualification hanging by an Al Hilal Omdurman thread.
The fact of the matter is: Mamelodi Sundowns showed that their over fifteen games unbeaten record is not a fluke; they are actually a quality side.
Going to Cairo and still showing so much self belief and confidence to play their normal game, which is characterized by patient build ups from the back, even under intense pressure from an Al Ahly high press was a high form of bravery.
The Red Devils, after their loss to Al Hilal Omdurman, were always going to be an ultimate test for the Brazilians, especially playing at home.
Yet Mamelodi Sundowns survived, and passed the test.
Despite having to play out of their comfort zone in the second half, by using long build ups to try and mitigate the Al Ahly test, they still managed to create good goal scoring opportunities, showing they can easily adapt to different game situations, something that will be key for them if they are to go far in the tournament.
Keeping a clinical side like Al Ahly to only six shots on target from nineteen attempts is no small feat, doing that and still being able to manage twelve attempts of your own with six on target speaks to the quality of the Downs team, they can box against the best.
Coach Rulani Mokwens had every reason to be proud of his team after surviving the Red Devils intense onslaught and walk out of the Al Salam stadium unscathed.
“Congratulations to my players because it was a very difficult game against a very good side and a team that made us work very, very hard for the point. We wanted to get three points but it was not easy against Al Ahly,” said Mokwena.
“You have to give them a lot of respect, so congratulations to the players, very proud of their effort.
“And then the second thing is the technical staff, my staff worked very, very hard on this game. From Goolam and Khaled in terms of the advanced, to the analysts, Sbu, Mario, Dale, incredible investment, we watched seven, eight games.
“This morning we watched another two [Al Ahly] games, congratulations to the coaches, coach Manqoba, coach Steve, coach Michael – so congratulations to the staff and when I say staff I mean medical team, support staff, Flemming, everyone involved.”
In a nutshell: After passing the ultimate test in Cairo, Downs proved they have what it takes to go as far as possible in the CAFCL, hopefully they will not choke when the going gets tougher during the knockout stages.
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