SU­PER CHAMPS!

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI at Lof­tus Vers­feld ti­mothy.molobi@city­press.co.za

All hail the con­ti­nent’s su­per club! Mamelodi Sun­downs are not only African cham­pi­ons, but su­per cham­pi­ons! The Brazil­ians added the CAF Su­per Cup trophy to the Cham­pi­ons League they won last year. In the process, they proved that what­ever Or­lando Pi­rates can do, they can also do.

They are now the only two South African sides with both tro­phies. Pi­rates won this trophy back in 1996 af­ter win­ning the Cham­pi­ons League in 1995.

But the Brazil­ians made an easy game look dif­fi­cult – they should have wrapped it up long be­fore they were awarded a du­bi­ous penalty late in the game.

On the bal­ance of play, the Brazil­ians de­served the vic­tory as they had all the sta­tis­tics go­ing their way – ball pos­ses­sion, corner kicks and shots at goals. But they did not need any favours from the match of­fi­cials to win the game af­ter they were awarded a soft-soft penalty in the 82nd minute – a home-town de­ci­sion of some sort – af­ter Egyp­tian ref­eree Ge­had Gr­isha ad­judged Hlom­pho Kekana to have been brought down in the box.

It was a du­bi­ous de­ci­sion to say the least, but, in foot­ball, the ref­eree’s de­ci­sion is fi­nal.

Ri­cardo Nasci­mento did the rest from the spot kick to give Sun­downs the lead – and the win­ning goal.

It was a game wor­thy of a su­per cup fi­nal be­tween these two con­ti­nen­tal gi­ants – and it was en­ter­tain­ing too. Noth­ing sep­a­rated the two sides go­ing into the half­time break, but the sup­port­ers could not have asked for more as both sides gave their all and had chances to break the dead­lock.

The vis­i­tors had a glo­ri­ous chance to take an early lead, but Ben Malango saw his ef­forts bounce off the up­right twice in the space of a few sec­onds.

Then it was Sun­downs all the way in the open­ing stanza, but their ef­forts did not trou­ble Mazembe goal­keeper Syl­vain Gbo­houo.

An­thony Laf­for was a con­stant men­ace in the vis­i­tors’ de­fence as he kept them on the back foot through­out the game, but his team-mates let him down with in­de­ci­sive­ness in front of goal. The Liberian in­ter­na­tional was a live wire and made a su­perb show­ing.

He could have capped his bril­liant per­for­mance with a goal, but was de­nied by Gbo­houo, who pulled off a su­perb save just be­fore Downs were awarded a penalty.

But Mazembe were no pushovers and gave their all, show­ing no signs of be­ing rusty de­spite the fact that their league has yet to be­gin.

Malango was al­ways a threat to Sun­downs’ rear­guard, but lacked sup­port from his team-mates, who were too late in join­ing him in the at­tacks.

But the night be­longed to Sun­downs, who pock­eted the R1.3 mil­lion prize.

The CAF team of the year, to­gether with the coach of the year – Pitso Mosi­mane – and player of the year based in Africa De­nis Onyango were de­serv­ing win­ners.

Now they can turn their fo­cus to the do­mes­tic league, where they are way be­hind in terms of fixtures.

PHOTO: LEFTY SHIVAMBU / GALLO IM­AGES

CHAM­PI­ONS Mamelodi Sun­downs play­ers and staff cel­e­brate with the CAF Su­per Cup trophy af­ter beat­ing TP Mazembe 1-0 at Lof­tus last night

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