Morena and Laffor combine to put Downs up in Addis

02 July 2017 - 00:00 By TimesLIVE

Anthony Laffor's 85th-minute strike saw Mamelodi Sundowns grit out a 1-0 Caf Champions League group victory against Saint George AC at Addis Ababa Stadium in the Ethiopian capital yesterday.
The victory left defending champions Sundowns poised for a place in the quarterfinals. Downs, in second place in Group C on goal difference from third-placed St George going into yesterday's game, now have eight points. St George remained on five.
A draw for Sundowns against last-placed AS Vita at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Friday night will seal their progression, while a defeat may even be enough, with a victory for St George against Esperance in Tunisia unlikely.
The top two teams in four groups progress to the new quarterfinal stage. Yesterday's match was played on the same mealie-field pitch where Bafana Bafana lost 2-1 against Ethiopia in a 2014 World Cup qualifier under Gordon Igesund.
As in that game, the stadium was packed. One of Ethiopia's players that day, striker Saladin Said, was playing for St George yesterday. Downs coach Pitso Mosimane knows Said well. Ethiopia's star striker scored in a 1-1 Brazil 2014 draw in Rustenburg that cost Mosimane his job, and led to Igesund's appointment. At such an intimidating venue, Downs almost started disastrously.Motjeka Madisha turned a cross by Mentsenot Umema onto his own upright in the fourth minute. The same St George player produced the same cross minutes later, this time parried by Denis Onyango as far as Abdoul Zoko, who blasted wide.
In injury time Downs conceded a soft penalty, Said shooting onto Anele Ngcongca's arm. Said's kick was saved by Onyango. Downs had edged an advantage. Substitute Thapelo Morena was played down the right, and squared for Laffor to sweep past Odongkara.

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