Mamelodi Sundowns are virtually in the Caf Champions League semi-finals, after upsetting Zamalek on their own ground, the Petro Sport Stadium in Cairo on Sunday evening.
Zamalek should have taken the lead in the 14th minute when Wayne Arendse’s error in the box fell to Ayman Hefny, who blazed over the crossbar.
Mabunda opened the scoring for the visitors on 18 minutes. Sugar would have been disappointed that his stunning goal against ES Setif was chalked off after they were booted out of the competition, but that was soon forgotten as he found the back of the net in the Egyptian capital.
The goal spurred Zamalek on as they raised their game, and following a period of sustained pressure, levelled matters following a calamitous error at the back: a looping ball was not dealt with as Denis Onyango and Thabo Nthethe both went for it, but Mohamed Ibrahim was quickest as he snuck inbetween the duo, lofting the ball home into an empty net to draw level.
The Zamalek winger, though, would suffer an horrific injury early in the second stanza as his night turned on it’s head. This coupled with the fact that only 5000 fans were allowed into the stadium nullified Zamalek as a superior Sundowns took control.
Pitso Mosimane opted for a change in the 55th minute, as he introduced Percy Tau for his Champions League debut, replacing Anthony Laffor.
Downs continued to probe, with substitute Percy Tau injecting more pace into the attack as Pitso Mosimane’s men edged closer to another goal – Castro headed a Billiat free-kick into the arms of the Zamalek keeper, before Billiat himself had a shot on goal, controlling the ball superbly before producing a fine save from El-Shenaway in the Egyptian’s goal.
For the umpteenth time this year, Keagan Dolly picked out the Zimbabwean who’s left-footed shot had the beating of the Egyptian shot stopper on 67 minutes.
Zamalek pressed forward in search of the equaliser with Onyango forced into a good save to deny second-half substitute Mostafa Fathi 10 minutes later.
Tau blasted a glorious chance wide on the stroke of full-time, as Downs were made to see out a heart-racing five minutes of added time before the final whistle.
The visitors however held on for a tough 2-1 win in Egypt, leaving them with six points in Group B, three points ahead of Zamalek, and with one foot in the semi-finals.