South Africa: Sundowns Crowned First Ever African Football League Champs

Mamelodi Sundowns were on Sunday crowned champions of the inaugural African Football League following a 2-0 victory over Wydad Casablanca in the second leg of the final at Loftus Versfeld.

It was a great show of character by Masandawana who overturned last week’s 2-1 first-leg defeat suffered in Casablanca to seal a 3-2 aggregate victory.

Peter Shalulile returned in style by thrusting Masandawana in front three minutes into the stoppage time of the first half.

Aubrey Modiba then increased Sundowns’ lead eight minutes into the second half to make it difficult for the Moroccans.

It was a memorable afternoon for coach Rhulani Mokwena, who delivered the first continental title for Masandawana since winning the 2017 CAF Super Cup victory.

The money-rich AFL will act as a solace for the Brazilians who have already missed out on the MTN8 and Carling Knockout this season.

Sundowns got a big boost following the return of Shalulile and Lucas Ribeiro Costa while defenders Rivaldo Coetzee and Grant Kekana were dropped.

Wydad welcomed back defender Anas Serrhat while they missed the services of captain and midfielder Yahya Jabrane.

Masandawana thought they deserved a penalty three minutes into the contest when Ribeiro was brought down inside the box but the referee turned them down after consulting the video assistant referee.

With three minutes to half time, Shalulile and Ribeiro failed to capitalise on Wydad goalkeeper Youssef El Motie’s dropping of a Khuliso Mudau cross.

Sundowns then handed themselves an advantage when Shalulile pounced on the spills when El Motie punched a Teboho Mokoena shot.

Shalulile almost doubled the Brazilians’ lead three minutes into the second half but failed to round past El Motie in a one-on-one situation.

But Modiba then put Sundowns further ahead after coming face-to-face with El Motie and then lobbed him off.

The Moroccans needed just a goal to level matters and defender Ayoub El Amloud almost did that with a powerful header that drew an impressive catch from Ronwen Williams.