DSTV Premiership log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns have defeated DRC's Maniema Union by 2-0 on Sunday evening to bbok a place in the CAF Champions League group stages. The Brazilians made four changes from the narrow win over Lamotville Golden Arrows, as they recalled Themba Zwane, Rivaldo Coetzee, Lyle Lakay and Grant Kekana back to the starting line-up.
Sundowns came to the game already having the confidence of two away goals but had to prevent the away side from scoring.
Masandawana were on the front foot in the opening minutes of the game and they came very close to going ahead in the 7th minute after Peter Shalulile's header from a corner was cleared off the goal-line. Maniema were offering resistance after that and it took a sublime free-kick from Lyle Lakay to break the deadlock for the hosts midway through the first stanza to put the hosts 1-0 on the day and 3-2 ahead on aggregate.
Thabiso Kutumela had a big chance to double Sundowns' lead just before the half-time break after rounding Maniema goalkeeper to go through on goal on the left side of the box but he hit the side-netting. The visitors then forced a save out of Denis Onyango early in the second half but then their goalkeeper made a costly error after spilling a cross by Lakay and he was punished by the ever alert Shalulile, who toe-poked the ball home on the goal-line to make it 2-0.
Sundowns started dropping deep in their own half after getting the two-goal cushion and Maniema nearly pulled one back in the last 18 minutes after their overlapping left wing-back went through on goal but his looping strike hit the side-netting.
Sundowns were comfortable in the last minutes of the game and managed to keep a cleansheet, as they booked their spot in the group stages while Maniema will have a second chance in the CAF Confederation Cup play-off round.
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