Mamelodi Sundowns' quest to reclaim African glory continued on Sunday evening with a convincing 2-0 victory over Rayon Sports of Rwanda in the second leg of the 1/16th round in Pretoria.
A goal in each half by Wayne Arendse and Sibusiso Vilakazi secured the former champions a place in the group stages of Africa's biggest club competition as they continue their journey towards a second title.
With the score tied at 0-0 in the first leg, the visitors came at Sundowns with a lot of vigour in search of an early goal to settle the nerves. However, with former African player of the year in between the stands, Sundown's Dennis Onyango, ensured that his side remained in the game.
Sundowns' first real chance at goal came midway into the opening half after Hlompho Kekana fired a shot that hit the outside of the post as the team grew in confidence. The hosts eventually grabbed the lead in the 35th minute from an unlikely source in defender Wayne Arendse who side-footed a corner kick by Percy Tau for the opener.
The waterlogged pitch did make it a bit difficult for the teams to play their usual game as both sides resorted to long balls.
Coming into the second half, the visitors went off the mark with high intensity in search of the equaliser but found it difficult to unlock the Brazilians. Their relentless attacks left them exposed at the back and were almost punished with a quick counter by Uruguayan import Gaston Sirino and Vilakazi which concluded with Tau finding himself one on one with the keeper but fired his effort straight.
The second goal eventually came for the 2016 champions all thanks to the sublime skill of Sirino who beat a man before sending in a curling strike that came off the woodwork and fell into the way off the oncoming Vilakazi who dived in to make it 2-0 to the Brazilians.
The visitors' hopes of coming back into the game were dealt a deadly blow when Caleb Bimenyamina was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Tebogo Langerman.
In the end it was a hard fought 2-0 win for Sundowns against a highly determine Rayon Sport who put up a brace fight against the South Africans.
Saturday, 17 March 2018
KCCA (Uganda) 1-0 Saint George (Ethiopia) (0-0)
Mbabane Swallows (Swaziland) 1-0 Zanaco (Zambia) (2-1)
Williamsville (Cote d'Ivoire) 2-0 Wydad (Morocco) (2-7)
CF Mounana (Gabon) 1-3 Al Ahly (Egypt) (0-4)
MC Alger (Algeria) 5-0 MFM (Nigeria) (1-2)
Generation Foot (Senegal) 0-2 Horoya (Guinea) (1-2)
Township Rollers (Botswana) 0-0 Young Africans (Tanzania) (2-1)
UD Songo (Mozambique) 3-0 TP Mazembe (DR Congo) (0-4)
Bidvest (South Africa) 1-0 (2-3pen) Primeiro de Agosto (Angola) (0-1)
Sunday, 18 March 2018
ES Setif (Algeria) 4-0 Aduana (Ghana) (1-0)
Esperance (Tunisia) 1-0 Gor Mahia (Kenya) (0-0)
Plateau United (Nigeria) 1-0 Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia) (2-4)
El Hilal (Sudan) 3-1 AS Togo (Togo) (0-2)
ASEC Mimosas (Cote d'Ivoire) 1-2 Zesco (Zambia) (1-0)
AS Vita (DR Congo) 2-2 Difaa El Jadidi (Morocco) (0-1)
Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa) 2-0 Rayon Sport (Rwanda) (0-0)
KCCA (Uganda), Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa), Difaa El Jadidi (Morocco), Zesco (Zambia), AS Togo (Togo), Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia), Esperance (Tunisia), ES Setif (Algeria), Primeiro de Agosto (Angola), TP Mazembe (DR Congo), Township Rollers (Botswana), Horoya (Guinea), MC Alger (Algeria), Al Ahly (Egypt), Wydad (Morocco), Mbabane Swallows (Swaziland)