USM Alger 0-1 Mamelodi Sundowns: Kekana scores as Brazilians register crucial win in Caf Champions League
Mosimane’s men opened a five-point lead at the top of Group C following their win over the North African side on Saturday night
Hlompho Kekana scored the only goal of the game as the Brazilians shot to the top of Group C log with seven points from their opening three games.
On the other hand, USM Alger remained third on the standings with just two points from the same number of games.
Pitso Mosimane started the game with a 4-4-2 formation as both Gaston Sirino and Mauricio Affonso led the attack while Thapelo Morena was given a more advanced role on the right-hand side of the team’s midfield instead of right-back.
Denis Onyango and Themba Zwane both started while Sibusiso Vilakazi was left out altogether for this clash.
Earlier this week, Mosimane said his team knew exactly how to handle North Africans, and looking at the result, they really managed to contain USM Alger.
The home side dominated the first 15 minutes of the encounter, and this wasn’t surprising as they had all the backing from their fans out in the stands.
Onyango was forced to make a great diving save to deny USM Alger striker Benchaa in the opening 15 minutes as the home side looked for the breakthrough.
After USM Alger dominated the first half-hour, Sundowns began to play in the final 15 minutes of the first half but neither side managed to find the back of the net.
Sundowns came back from the dressing room guns blazing as they pinned USM Alger back until the 55th minute.
The hosts regained their confidence but it was Sundowns who opened the scoring.
Kekana capitalised on a defensive error before beating keeper Zemmamouche with a sublime finish in the 58th minute.
Kekana soon made way for Tiyani Mabunda as Mosimane attempted to defend his team’s narrow lead.
The tempo of the game slowed down from then onwards and USM Algers decided to make a change in the final 10 minutes of the game, replacing Boumechra for Benhamouda.
But before then, Lyle Lakay tried his luck in the 80th minute only to see his shot go over the crossbar as Sundowns looked to maintain their lead.
Onyango pulled off some great saves in the latter stage of the encounter to keep Sundowns in the game, and he was lauded by the majority of South African fans following the game on social media.
Ultimately, the Tshwane giants held on for a crucial win and opened a five-point gap at the top of Group C standings.