Home Sport Sundowns thump La Passe in CAF Champions League

Sundowns thump La Passe in CAF Champions League

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Mamelodi Sundowns and Royal AM played the first legs of their respective qualifiers on Sunday as Downs smashed La Passe 7-0 at Loftus Versfeld, while Royal drew 0-0 with Zesco United at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

soccer players celebrate together afetr scoring a goal
Sipho Mbule of Mamelodi Sundowns (right) celebrates a goal with Thapelo Morena during the Caf Champions League football match against La Passe at Loftus Versfeld, in Pretoria on 9 October 2022. Picture: Gavin Barker, BackpagePix

Johannesburg – Mamelodi Sundowns have all but qualified for the CAF Champions League group stages, while Royal AM’s fate in the CAF Confederation Cup is still up in the air.

The two teams played the first legs of their respective qualifiers yesterday as Sundowns drubbed La Passe 7-0, while Royal AM drew 0-0 with Zesco United.

The Brazilians will also play the second leg against La Passe at Loftus Versfeld in a week’s time – a quirk of the tournament that sets them on track for a hefty aggregate score.

Although an easy victory, they will have to build on this momentum going into the group stages of the tournament, if they want to win it and end a six-year continental drought.

The closest Sundowns have come to winning the crown since their triumph in 2016 was in 2018, when they finished as semi-finalists.

With most of La Passe’s players being semi-professionals, Sundowns were not expected to even break a sweat and were tipped to score with every foray forward.

And they looked to do that from the outset, with Grant Kekana heading home Aubrey Modiba’s cross as early as the first minute.

As expected, Sundowns dominated possession, circulating the ball with ease as they tried to exploit the pockets of space in La Passe’ final third early on.

Downs camped just outside La Passe’s box, and soon Gaston Sirino registered the team’s second goal from close-range after being teed up by Marcelo Allende.

After that strike, the floodgates were expected to open but La Passe, to their credit, managed – thanks to some poor finishing from the visitors – to deny the Brazilians a complete rout.

Even though Sundowns failed to be clinical, their “host’s” errors saw them give away set-pieces that would result in the third goal.

Hiroy Jupiter conceded a free-kick, which was floated in by Sirino, before the former tucked the ball into his own empty net after keeper Dave Mussard missed the ball.

Sundowns were now full of confidence, and their fourth came eventually, though somewhat belatedly, as Aubrey Modiba scored a thunderbolt from the edge of the box.

They were rewarded by their fifth goal on the stroke of half-time, as Khuliso Mudau chest-tapped for Sirino, who slotted home his second of the day.

Sipho Mbule came off the bench to put his name on the scoresheet in the second half before Sphelele Mkhulise put the icing on the cake, maing it seven.

And that’s how it ended in Pretoria as the Brazilians made light work of La Passe, who’ll have sleepless nights ahead of the return leg next weekend.

Meanwhile, Royal AM will have to beat Zesco in Zambia this weekend if they are going to qualify for the Confederation Cup group stage for the first time ever.

Royal AM’s progression to the group stage could bring some stability to their camp after hogging the headlines for the wrong reasons since the start of this season.

@Mihlalibaleka

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