JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Apr 6 – Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa stunned record eight-time trophy holders Al Ahly of Egypt 5-0 Saturday in the first leg of a CAF Champions League quarter-final near Pretoria.
It was the heaviest defeat suffered by the Cairo Red Devils in a CAF match and leaves them with virtually no chance in the second leg next weekend.
Themba Zwane and Wayne Arendse scored to give the hosts a 2-0 half-time advantage at a packed 25,000-seat Lucas ‘Masterpieces’ Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville.
Brazilian Ricardo Nascimento converted a penalty two minutes into the second half and goals from Uruguayan Gaston Sirino and Ahly reject Phakamani Mahlambi completed the rout.
The clubs meet again next Saturday in Egypt and Ahly will have to score at least five goals to have a chance of avoiding elimination from the elite African club competition.
Beating Ahly, who have also won a record 19 CAF titles, by such a wide margin was beyond the wildest dreams of even the most optimistic Sundowns supporter.
Most believed a two-goal advantage and not conceding at home was the best the shock 2016 Champions League winners could hope for against such vaunted opponents.
Ahly have suffered several three-goal defeats since making their debut in the competition 43 years ago, but this humiliation puts the future of Uruguayan coach Martin Lasarte in doubt.
He took over this year from Frenchman Patrice Carteron, who was sacked after Ahly surrendered a 3-1 first-leg lead to lose the 2018 final against Esperance of Tunisia.
“We had a very bad match today, and we need to work hard in the coming period to fix many things,” Lasarte told the Ahly website after the debacle.
“I apologise to Ahly fans, both those who were at the stadium or following via television.
“There is no time to talk about anything now, and we only have to work and focus on what is ahead.”
BeIn Sport pundit and former star Ahly centre-back Wael Gomaa called the five-goal thrashing in South Africa a “disgrace”.
Gomaa was part of the star-studded Ahly side that reached four consecutive Champions League finals from 2005, winning three.
In Dar es Salaam, Simba SC of Tanzania were held 0-0 by five-time champions TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
While the result confirms Mazembe as favourites to win the tie, they will tread warily after what occurred at the same stage last season.
Having forced a 0-0 draw at Primeiro Agosto of Angola, the Congolese side missed two penalties and had two goals disallowed in a second leg that ended 1-1 and they were eliminated on away goals.
Later Saturday, Horoya of Guinea host Wydad Casablanca of Morocco and CS Constantine of Algeria have home advantage over Esperance.
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