Runaway South African league champions – Mamelodi Sundowns were held by Al Hilal [1-1] at the multi purpose Al Hilal stadium in Omdurman, Khartoum State, Sudan this afternoon.
From the beginning of the match both sides threw everything they had into the game. Masandawana looked to put pressure on the opposition with their possession game, Teboho Mokoena took the first strike for The Brazilians from far and saw his ball bounce on the side of the 18 area going out for goal kick.
Downs goalkeeper Ronwen Williams was put to the test, Williams made his first save in the game against a fired up Lilepo Makabi who outran Brian Onyango. Williams pushed the ball out for a corner, Hilal tried their luck from the flag and the keeper got down to make another brilliant save.
The South African international goalie made yet another clinical save against Lilepo from a long ball played all the way from the defense to the front. After enduring multiple attacks, Masandawana’s midfielder Maema made his way into the box to shoot with his left foot forcing Hilal’s goalkeeper Ali Abo to make a save with one hand.
Bafana Ba Style held their shape and defended well for much of the first half proceedings, as the game approached the half time break Khuliso Mudau worked a long range shot towards goal but his effort went wide past the top post. The hosts were unable to penetrate through Downs’ defense and both teams went into the break with no goals on either side while Sundowns held a 75% ball possession.
The Brazilians kicked off the second half with a quick start coming the closest to scoring, Cassius Mailula laid a cross to Marcelo Allende who struck at the ball at the same time from close range but Abo denied him the opportunity at goal. Hilal began pressing higher up the pitch and eventually won the ball, Lilepo got dispossessed in the box as he was about to go for goal and Masandawana regained possession.
Downs began to roam all over the attacking third looking to wreak havoc in the opposition’s defense, a foul was eventually awarded to Masandawana after Aubrey Modiba was brought down. Teboho Mokoena stepped up to take the set-piece, the midfielder was unfortunate to drive the ball into the wall and cause no real threats for the home team.
With pressure building up in Hilal’s box, Mudau and Mailula were the next players to be fouled a few meters away from the box. Modiba stepped up to take the chance, his shot went directly towards the keeper who pushed the ball out but Mudau followed up with a quick reaction and struck into the net from close range to break the deadlock. The Brazilians didn’t hold on to their lead for long, one moment of carelessness at the back as the player closed down Williams quickly trying to play out from the back and the home team equalized through Mohamed Yagoub.
With five minutes left in the encounter, Downs made changes and brought Sphelele Mkhulise for Maema, Sipho Mbule for Mokoena and Mosa Lebusa for Allende. The hosts looked like scoring a second when El Tayeb was challenged in the box a minute before the 90 minutes mark, Athar took up the opportunity but Williams was well in his mark to deny him the goal and made the save.
The final minutes of extra time were open with both sides looking for a winner, but neither team could create a real scoring chance and Masandawana remained top of Group B with 11 points.