Some Caf concern for Sundowns as they draw at home against Pyramids
After three games all four teams in Group A are on four points, and Mamelodi Sundowns know they are in for a fight to progress to the knockout stage after being held to a 0-0 draw by tough Pyramids at Loftus Versfeld on Sunday.
Downs retain the lead of the group on goal difference, but having registered just one home win (3-0) against FC Nouadhibou of Mauritania.
With their away defeat against TP Mazembe (1-0) last week being followed by a home draw against Egyptian outfit Pyramids, coach Rulani Mokwena will be urging his men to lift their performance in some big clashes on the horizon to ensure they keep their ambition of challenging for a coveted second star on track.
Pyramids were reduced to 10 men in the 89th when Osama Galal received a second booking.
At a wet Loftus, the opening half was decidedly stop-start as Pyramids applied the squeeze, closing paces and denying Downs, with the greater share of possession, space to do anything with it.
The half-chances for both sides came in the opening 20 minutes, with Pyramids perhaps unfortunate in the 14th. Khuliso Mudau gave the ball away to the Egyptian club’s South African striker Fagrie Lakay, but Gabonese referee Pierre Atcho blew for a foul in what seemed a kind call for the home side.
Downs suffered the loss to injury of big, influential Moroccan centreback Abdelmounaim Boutouil, replaced by Thapelo Morena, in the 22nd.
The lacklustre Brazilians did not have a shot in anger on target in the opening half, but that changed as they lifted the tempo notably coming back from the change rooms.
Peter Shalulile was through onto Ronwen Williams’ long ball soon after the break, Ahmed Samy’s intercept denying the Namibian.
Shalulile had a good shout for a penalty turned down. From Marcelo Allende’s resultant corner from the right Mosa Lebusa nodded his free header inches wide.
Thapelo Maseko’s skidding low shot from the right edge of the area was allowed through his arms by Pyramids goalkeeper Ahmed El Shenawy, who recovered to make the stop. Then Allende drove feet over the bar.
Pyramids remained dangerous, especially on the counterattack. On the hour Teboho Mokoena lost the ball to allow substitute winger Mostafa Fathi in on the right to feed Lakay with an open goal beckoning for the former Cape Town City striker, Lebusa making the desperate challenge to deny the striker, who was a constant threat to Downs.
With nine minutes left Mudau’s chip in from the right found Shalulile free in the middle to spectacularly volley past El Shenawy, but the striker was controversially ruled offside.
With the clock winding down Galal was shown a second yellow by Atcho, apparently for remonstrating.
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