PSL

Sundowns, Al Hilal in goalless stalemate

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Steve Komphela, coach of Mamelodi Sundowns, Rhulani Mokwena and Manqoba Mnqgithi, assistant coach of Mamelodi Sundowns during the MTN8 quarter final between Mamelodi Sundowns and Bloemfontein Celtic on October 18, 2020 at the Moripe Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa.
Steve Komphela, coach of Mamelodi Sundowns, Rhulani Mokwena and Manqoba Mnqgithi, assistant coach of Mamelodi Sundowns during the MTN8 quarter final between Mamelodi Sundowns and Bloemfontein Celtic on October 18, 2020 at the Moripe Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa.
Samuel Shivambu

It was honours even at Al-Hilal Stadium on Friday afternoon as Sundowns were held to a frustrating goalless draw by Al Hilal in the CAF Champions League.

Both teams were denied by the woodwork in what turned out to be a closely contested Group B encounter in Sudan.

The hosts started the match on the front foot, Nasr Omar testing Sundowns goalkeeper Ricardo Goss with a speculative shot from outside the box.

Sundowns hit back with a good chance of their own three minutes later but it came to nothing as Gaston Sirino fired wide of the mark after being teed up by Mauricio Affonso.

Masandawana continued to apply the pressure and again went close a couple of minutes later as Affonso sent a curling free-kick narrowly wide of the top-left corner.

At the opposite end of the pitch, meanwhile, Abu Aagla saw his long-range shot saved in the bottom-left corner by Goss.

Al Hilal didn't let up, piling forward at every opportunity but they were met with stiff opposition by Goss, who kept out efforts from Mohamed Abdel Rahman and Faris Abdalla.

Sundowns' Gaston Sirino fired high and wide in the 22nd minute after latching onto a well-weighted through ball from Hlompho Kekana, while team-mate Rushine De Reuck saw his goal-bound header cleared off the line a few minutes later.

After a cooling break in the searing heat, it was Al Hilal who took the game by the scruff of the neck, with Abdalla twice missing the target and team-mates Rahman and Omar also failing to find the mark in the closing stages of the half.

The first noteworthy chance of the second half fell to Promise Mkhuma but Al Hilal keeper Ali Achrine was equal to the task, snapping up the long-range shot with minimum fuss.

And Sundowns were given a massive scare shortly thereafter as Eid Mugadam struck the post with a left-footed shot from range.

Al Hilal redoubled their efforts after that chance, creating a series of opportunities in the ensuing minutes.

Faris Abdalla was denied by Goss in the 52nd minute while team-mate Mohamed Ouattara headed wide from a corner six minutes later.

After weathering the storm, Sundowns hit back with two good chances of their own as Haashim Domingo forced a save from Achrine before Kekana hit the crossbar with a speculative shot from 35 yards out.

But with neither team able to fashion a late match-winner, the match would end goalless. Sundowns will arguably be the happier of the two sides with their passage to the knockout phase already secured, while Al Hilal remain in second place in Group B, with CR Belouizdad and TP Mazembe hot on their heels.

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Fixtures
Tue 20 Apr 21 15:00 PM (SAST)
Chippa United
Baroka
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Tue 20 Apr 21 17:00 PM (SAST)
Bloemfontein Celtic
Swallows
Dr. Petrus Molemela Stadium
Tue 20 Apr 21 17:00 PM (SAST)
Tshakhuma FC
Maritzburg United
Old Peter Mokaba Stadium
Results
Sun 18 Apr 21
Orlando Pirates 2
Maritzburg United 0
Thu 15 Apr 21
Baroka 1
Kaizer Chiefs 1
Wed 14 Apr 21
TS Galaxy 0
Orlando Pirates 0
Logs
Team
P
W
PTS
1. Mamelodi Sundowns
20
13
46
2. AmaZulu
22
11
40
3. Golden Arrows
22
9
38
4. Orlando Pirates
22
10
38