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Review: CAF CL holders Sundowns suffer home loss

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane and players.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane and players.

Two away wins made for a day of shock in the African Champions League on Friday as holders Mamelodi Sundowns were beaten at home and Al Ahli Tripoli from Libya scored four goals on the road in Zimbabwe while Zamalek conjured up a fortunate late equaliser to avoid a clean sweep for the visiting teams.

Sundowns' attempted defence of their title took a major knock as they conceded a last minute penalty to go down 2-1 at home to Esperance in Group C. In Group B, there's everything to play for after USM Alger drew 1-1 in Egypt and Al Ahli Tripoli beat CAPS United.

Sundowns had revived their campaign 10 days ago with an eye-opening performance in Kinshasa which reminded all of their credentials and looked to be picking up where they left off, as they made a breezy start to their home game against Esperance on a cold Highveld night.

But a sudden moment of hesitation in defence and they were punished with Taha Yassine Khenissi being set free by a superb through ball and firing home past Denis Onyango with a fearsome strike to put the Tunisians ahead in only the sixth minute.

Sundowns worked their way back into the game, even without talismanic midfielder Hlompho Kekana to take charge of the midfield battle, and a slip by the Esperance defence allowed Percy Tau to break and set up a 22nd minute equaliser for Sibusiso Vilakazi.

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For the rest of the game, Sundowns lacked the spark they had shown against AS Vita Club 10 days earlier with Leonardo Castro in for the suspended Yannick Zakri, missing a good second half chance.

A clumsy challenge from Bangaly Soumharo on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef in the last minute handed Khenissi a chance for a second from the spot. He sent Onyango the wrong way to silence the crowd and leave Sundowns now needing more heroics on the road in their remaining group games.

Zambian international Emmanuel Mayuka spared the blushes for Zamalek with an equaliser four minutes into stoppage time to force a 1-1 draw with USMA, who had taken the lead when defender Farouk Chafai scored on the half hour mark in Alexandria.

He ghosted in at the back post to meet a long cross and USMA had a legitimate-looking second half penalty turned down before Mayuka took advantage of a fumbled by USMA goalkeeper Mohamed Amine Zemmamouche right at the death to provide salvation for the home team.

Three goals in the space of eight minutes in a devastating first half spell delivered for Al Ahli Tripoli an unexpected 4-2 away win over CAPS United in Harare on Friday.

It was their first goals of the group phase and started with a penalty after Anis Saltou was brought down. Tunisian import Sameh Derbali tucked away the 17th minute spot kick, followed two minutes later by Samel Ablou's effort to double the score.

Then a ball over the top of the Zimbabwean team's defence allowed Muaid Elafi to make it 3-0 after 25 minutes and effectively kill off the contest.

Derbali came storming down the right wing from his full back position before cutting in and hitting home with his left for a 4-0 lead in the 81st minute before CAPS netted two late consolation goals.

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