Sundowns strike late to maintain perfect start in CAF Champions League

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Lyle Lakay (Gallo)
Lyle Lakay (Gallo)

Lyle Lakay netted a dramatic winner at the death as Mamelodi Sundowns maintained their 100 per cent start in the CAF Champions League with a 2-1 victory over TP Mazembe on Saturday.

After a goalless first half, Sundowns claimed the lead through Peter Shalulile in the 67th minute before TP Mazembe drew level in the 82nd minute thanks to Tresor Mputu.

But with time running out, Sundowns had the last laugh as Lakay found the back of the net with a superb free-kick from the edge of the box.

Sundowns are now three from three in the group stages o this competition, sitting comfortably on top of the the Group B standings with nine points, seven points ahead of Mazembe, Al-Hilal and CR Belouizdad. 

The Ravens started the Group B encounter on the front foot, forcing Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango into action on more than one occasion on the opening 15-minute spell.

Onyango produced a good reaction stop to deny Moustapha Kouyate's close-range effort in the eighth minute before getting down low to get a hand to Freddy Djedje's driven shot from the right side of the box.

TP Mazembe continued to create chances but were let down by a lack of cutting edge as Christ Kinsangala and Joseph Ochaya failed to hit the target with later efforts.

Onyango was again called into action in the 25th minute but made light work of Kabaso Chongo's speculative effot from range, calmly snapping up the ball in the centre of the Downs goal.

Chongo and Djedje squandered later efforts before Sundowns eventually lodged their first noteworthy shot on target in the 37th minute, Themba Zwane seeing his goal-bound shot saved by Ravens keeper Ibrahim Mounkoro.

Both sides had chances to score as the first half drew to a close, with Chico Kubanza and Kouyate denied by Onyango while Gaston Sirino's long-range shot was saved in the bottom-right corner by Mounkoro.

Sundowns made a strong start to proceedings after the half-time break, with Peter Shalulile forcing two saves from Mounkoro in the space of two minutes.

They went on to create a flurry of chances in the 54th minute as Thapelo Morena was twice denied by Mounkoro before the defence stepped in at the last moment to block Lyle Lakay on the follow-up.

The Ravens hit back with two chances of their own, Miche Miche seeing his shot from outside the box saved by Onyango before Jean Othos headed over from a difficult angle on the right side of the box.

However, it was Masandawana who finally broke the deadlock in the 68th minute, Shalulile latching onto a through pass from Zwane before placing a shot in the bottom-right corner.

The goal sparked a big response from TP Mazembe as they launched forward in a bid to claim a swift equaliser.

Issama Mpeko fired high and wide with a speculative effort from range before Miche struck the crossbar with a powerful shot from outside the box.

Mpeko had another chance to level matter on 70 minutes but failed to find a way past Onyango in the Sundowns goal.

The match was producing end-to-end action as both sides bombed forward at every opportunity, with Sundowns' Sphelele Mkhulise firing wide of the left-hand post while at the opposite end of the pitch, Joel Beya failed to hit the target from the left six of the box.

TP Mazembe kept plugging away at the Sundowns defence, though, and they were eventually rewarded in the 84th minute as substitute Tresor Mputu fired home from the centre of the box, Joseph Ochaya providing the assist for the goal.

There was more action to come as Lakay fired over from a Sundowns free-kick in the 85th minute before TP Mazembe's Mputu saw his goal-bound shot saved by Onyango.

But it was Lakay who had the last say, making amends for his earlier miss as he fired a dipping free-kick over the defensive wall and into the back of the net.

TP Mazembe had one last chance in injury time but it came to nothing as Mputu headed over from close range following a corner.

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