December 9, 2021

Sundowns Ladies start CAF Champions League campaign with a hard-fought victory

By Football256 Team
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Sundowns Ladies started their Total Energies CAF Women’s Champions League campaign with a hard-fought victory 1-0 victory over Kenyan side Vihiga Queens in the Group B encounter played at the Al-Salam Stadium in Cairo on Saturday.

The first few minutes of the game saw the Brazilians display fluidity, smoothness and  composure and it was no surprise that the South African side grabbed the lead in the opening five minutes thanks to the predatory instinct of Melinda Kgadiete.

The striker lashed on to a wonderfully weighted pass and conjured up a sumptuous chip over the goalkeeper. Kgadiete’s strike was the first goal scored in the Group B rubber.

The Kenyans upped their momentum after the early setback and launched several attacks of their own a few minutes after conceding, but the Sundowns defence weathered the storms impressively as the game sprang to life.

Banyana Ba Style duly responded with their foray of attacks for the remainder of the first half but the Queens maintained their defensive structure to prevent a second.

After the restart, the Kenyan outfit switched their game plan to a more attacking outlook but goalkeeper Asa Rabalao showed her class between the sticks midway through the second half.

Both sides continued to chase the all-important second goal with both defences proving equal to the task. 

The Queens almost grabbed the equalizer with the last kick of the game from a freekick but were denied at the death by the woodwork.

“It is very important for any team to begin a tournament such as this with a win. Such victory improves the confidence of the players as well as the energy levels within the team,” stated  Sundowns’ coach Jerry Tshabalala.

“Our opponents showed their defensive solidity but we showed our attacking abilities by scoring  an important goal.”

“The win means we are one foot into the semi-finals but we are not dwelling on this victory. We are already looking forward to the next game against Rivers Angels,” Tshabalala added.  

Queens’ goalkeeper Lilian Awuor was named ‘Woman of the Match’ thanks to to her outstanding reflexes to prevent The Brazilians from adding to their advantage.

Coach Tshabalala believes his side would need to improve their ruthlessness moving forward; “We must praise the opposition for the defensive block they deployed.”

But I believe we should have punished them a couple of times in the first 20 minutes of the game because we had very good goal-scoring opportunities to bury the game and extend our advantage.”

“It is no surprise that their goalkeeper was named the top player of the game. Nevertheless, this is a tough group and I am very happy with my charges,” noted the highly experienced coach.

In the other Group B game, Sanaa Mssoudy scored the tournament’s first-ever hat-trick as Morocco’s ASFAR hammered Nigeria’s Rivers Angels by 3-0.

Up next for Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies is a massive clash against the already-rattled Nigerian outfit on Tuesday.

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