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AFP
May 7, 2018

Wydad survive siege to hold Sundowns

Sports

AFP
May 7, 2018

JOHANNESBURG: CAF Champions League title-holders Wydad Casablanca of Morocco survived a late siege by Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in Pretoria Saturday to force a 1-1 matchday one draw.

Sundowns made a perfect start to the Group C clash between the last two winners of the elite African club competition by going ahead within three minutes. Ivorian Cheick Comara turned a Sibusiso Vilakazi cross into his net, although the goal was awarded only after the Cameroon referee overruled his assistant, who had signalled a corner.

Wydad responded with an adventurous approach that paid off on 20 minutes when Ismail el Haddad darted forward to nod a cross past Uganda goalkeeper Denis Onyango. El Haddad will score few simpler goals as several Sundowns defenders stood still, believing the ball had crossed the line before being floated into the goalmouth.

Rattled by the goal, Sundowns were lucky not to fall behind soon after when Wydad captain Brahim Nakach surged into the box only to blaze wide.After a thrilling first half, the second 45 minutes was a let-down as Wydad tired in the 1,340-metre (4,395-feet) altitude and wasted time whenever possible.

Wydad edged 2016 Champions League winners Sundowns on penalties in the quarter-finals last season after both clubs won 1-0 at home.The draw completed an eventful day for Sundowns after news leaked that they will face Spanish giants Barcelona on May 16, and signed Guinea-Bissau striker Toni Silva.

The friendly against Barca is expected to be confirmed in Spain Monday and will be staged at the 90,000-capacity Soccer City stadium in Soweto. It will be the second visit of Barcelona to South Africa, having beaten Sundowns in Pretoria 11 years ago. Silva was on books of Benfica, Chelsea and Liverpool as a youth and moves to South Africa from Greek outfit Levadiakos.

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