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Sundowns lay marker with heavy away win as Ahly down Raja

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Al Ahly players celebrate their win over Raja. PHOTO/Al Ahly
  • Sundowns beat CR Belouizdad 3-1 in Algiers
  • Al Ahly won 2-0 at home against Raja
  • The second leg will be played next weekend

Mamelodi Sundowns showed their hunger to battle for a second African title as they thrashed Algeria’s CR Belouizdad 3-1 in Algiers to put one foot into the semi-finals of the CAF Champions League.

Sundowns, the 2016 champions showed their intent this season and were in no mood to make the same mistakes that saw them exit in the same stage last season.

Peter Shalulile put up a brilliant performance with two goals and an assist for Neo Maema with Cassius Mailula adding a late fourth as Masandawana left North Africa with a resounding victory.

The Brazilians stamped their authority right from the start and they broke the deadlock after just six minutes when Shalulile powered home a header from the edge of the six yard box off an Aubrey Modiba cross.

The Namibian hotshot turned from scorer to provider in the 20th minute as Sundowns doubled their lead, cutting back a cross into the area that Maema thumped home with a powerful side-footed shot.

At the stroke of halftime, Miloud Rebiai restored some hope for the home side when he headed into the net from a corner, halving the deficit and giving themselves a fighting chance in the second half.

However, things didn’t go to plan as it was Sundowns whio would extend their lead, Shalulile doubling his tally for the night with a goal six minutes from the restart.

The goal seemingly killed off Belouizdad’s hopes of a comeback and Sundowns dominated much of the play. On form Mailula would seal the victory with the fourth goal in the second minute of added time, a strike that put Downs one foot into the last four.

Ahly down Raja in Cairo 

Elsewhere, Mohamed Abdelmonem and Hamdi Fathi were on target in either half as record champions Al Ahly kept their chase for a record extending 11th title alive with a 2-0 victory over Raja Club Athletic in Cairo

Abdelmonem broke the deadlock at the stroke of halftime, towering above his marker to thump home a header from an Ali Maaloul cross from the left.

The home side was rewarded for their industry in the opening half, having commanded 60pc of the possession.

But, Raja had two close chances to score, which would have changed the face of the game. Mohamed Nahiri had a stinging freekick from distance brilliantly saved by Mohamed Elshenawy early on.

The Ahly keeper was called into action again when Walid Sabbar released Mohamed Zrida through on goal, but the custodian made another brilliant save to keep his side in the game.

On the other end, Ahly had a goal disallowed when Kahraba deflected a cross into the net, but it was ruled out for offside.

In the second half Ahly looked to consolidate their lead and they did so six minutes from time when Fathi was picked out by a brilliant logted ball from Percy Tau and he made no mistake with a brilliant volley.

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