Sundowns cruise into Caf Champions League group stages
Mamelodi Sundowns eased into the group stages of the African Champions League with a deserved 2-0 victory over Rayon Sports of Rwanda in soggy conditions at Loftus Stadium on Sunday.
Goals from Wayne Arendse and Sibusiso Vilakazi booked a group stage place for The Brazilians, but they might have had many more goals as they dominated the fixture, taking the tie by the same scoreline on aggregate.
Torrential rain before kick-off left large puddles of water on the pitch and, particularly in the first half, made flowing, passing football almost impossible.
Those puddles drained in the second period and Sundowns were able to play their passing game, opening up the Rwandan side almost at will, but without the finishing touch.
Sundowns were denied what looked a clear penalty when Percy Tau was hacked down in the Rayon Sport box, but referee Jackson Pavaza from Namibia waved play-on.
Uruguayan forward Gaston Sirino had an excellent chance to open the scoring when he had a snap-shot inside the six-yard box, but did not find a clean connection and skewed his effort wide.
Tau then curled a shot from outside the box just wide, but the deadlock was broken on 34 minutes when his corner was turned home by Arendse on the volley.
Tau then had an opportunity to add to the home side’s advantage before the break, but with just the keeper to beat, saw his effort deflected wide.
He was again denied early in the second period when he connected with Tebogo Langerman’s cross six-yards out, but visiting goalkeeper Eric Ndayishimiye made the stop from point-blank range.
It was 2-0 on 55 minutes though with the excellent Sirino the architect as his shot from 30-yards cannoned back off the crossbar and Vilakazi had the simplest headers from the rebound.
Tau had another chance to add a third 10 minutes later when he found himself one-on-one with Ndayishimiye, but the Rwanda international gloveman got the slightest of touches to his shot and pushed it wide.
Vilakazi should have shot when played into space by Tau, but opted for the cross that was cleared as Sundowns toyed with their opponents.
Caleb Bimenyimana received a straight red card in injury-time for the visitors for a horror lunge on Langerman that was like something out of a kung fu movie, with the Downs left-back lucky to come out of the challenge with his ankles intact.
Sundowns are the only South African side remaining in the Champions League after BidVest Wits were ousted on Saturday.