Sundowns claim victory over Al Hilal in CAF Champions League opener

Sundowns claim victory over Al Hilal in CAF Champions League opener

Mamelodi Sundowns defeated Al Hilal in their opening match of the CAF Champions League in Group B.

The match took place on Saturday afternoon at Loftus Stadium and was marked by coach Rulani Mokwena's recall of key players such as Ronwen Williams, Aubrey Modiba, Teboho Mokoena, and Marcelo Allende.

The two clubs were familiar with each other after facing off in last season's group stages, where Sundowns emerged victorious in both fixtures. The game began with a fast pace, but it was Sundowns who nearly scored first with a close-range attempt from Allende and Mailula, who was blocked in the 12th minute.

Mailula would go on to score the game's only goal in the 24th minute, putting away his fourth goal in the competition with a well-placed finish after Neo Maema's initial shot was saved.

Al Hilal nearly responded with a header from Mohamed Yousif, but it went wide of the goal.

The visitors were quick on the counterattack, but Peter Shalulile missed a chance to extend Sundowns' lead before half-time.

The second half saw both sides make substitutions, with Sundowns bringing in Gift Motupa and Al Hilal making a double change with Ahmed Saddig and John Robi.

The match was cut short for Al Hilal when Altayeb Abdalla received a second yellow card for handball and was sent off, reducing their chances of an equalizer.

In the end, Sundowns claimed a 1-0 victory.