Mamelodi Sundowns could not finish off the group stage of the Caf Champions League on a positive note as they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Wydad Casablanca in Rabat on Saturday.
The 2016 champs had secured qualification to the next round of the competition, and only needed to avoid defeat to remain first in Group A, while their opponents needed a victory to book a quarterfinal spot.
Denis Onyango was the busier of the two keepers, as he was called into action from as early as the fifth minute, having to deal with Michael Babatunde’s stinging shot.
The visitors also had their chances, with Phakamani Mahlambi unleashing a shot which went agonisingly wide on the 26th minute.
Close to the stroke of halftime, Onyango was required to be alert once again, pulling off a superb save to deny Ismail El Hadad the opener.
Sundowns had a few chances to get ahead early in the second half, but the breakthrough would come via the hosts when a Mohamed Nahiri stunner breached the Ugandan international’s defences.
Brazilian defender, Ricardo Nascimento had perhaps the best chance at an equaliser, but his effort was brilliantly saved by Ahmed Tagnaouti, who kept his side in the lead.
Despite Sundowns’ best efforts, the hosts hung on to their thin lead as they secured a spot in the knockout rounds.
The Tshwane giants now take an extended break from competitive action before hosting city rivals Supersport United at Loftus Versfeld in a PSL clash on Sunday, 7 April.
Watch: Wydad Casablanca vs Mamelodi Sundowns
— CAF (@CAF_Online) March 16, 2019