Mamelodi Sundowns Lose Group Stage Opener to Lobi Stars in Enugu
The Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu saw Lobi Stars beat Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 in their CAF Champions League group stage opener on Friday in a closely-fought match between the two sides.
Liberian forward Anthony Laffor opened the scoring for Sundowns, Yya Kone equalized from the spot and Mathias Martins grabbed the all-important winner for the hosts in the 52nd minute, handing the Nigerian side all three points
The Brazilians were the better team in the opening exchanges and were finding it very easy to penetrate the Lobi Stars back four.
The first real chance fell to Sundowns’s Lebohang Maboe, who shot straight at Kayode Olufemi after running onto a Nusa Lebusa through ball.
Sundowns were unfortunate again when Kayode made a superb stop from a Nascimento header following Sirino’s corner, with the ball looping up and dropping onto the crossbar and out.
The Nigerians were made to pay for their indecisive finishing through Laffor running on the end of a cross-field ball from Sirino to tap into an empty net close to halftime.
Lobi Stars were slowly coming back into the game, started pressuring well, creating some half chances and showing signs of promise.
And in the 45th minute, they were handed a way back through a penalty, which Yaya Kone converted by sending Kennedy Mweene the wrong way with the last kick of the half.
In the second half, Stars carried on pressuring Sundowns and another brilliant chance fell to Moses Ojo, who tried to chip the keeper but it was just over the bar.
Sundowns started to fight back and nearly doubled their lead through substitute Phakamani Mahlambi, who was played through on goal by Samuel Mabunda but Monsuru Bahiru cleared off the line keeping his team in the game.
In the 50th minute, Labohang Maboe almost pulled them away further but his fierce shot cannoned off the crossbar.
Lobi Stars started to hold possession once more and managed to extend their lead 52nd minute after Otakho Aghahowa crossed to find Samuel Mathias unmarked, who finished well six yards out.
Sundowns went in search of the equalizer again in the last 10 minutes, in a high tempo end to the game, however, Lobi Stars managed to hold on to the three points, helping them top the table in their maiden group stage campaign.
How they lined up:
Lobi Stars Starting XI: Kayode Olufemi, John Lazarus, Chidiebube Duru, Monsuru Bashiru, Ekene Olisema, Otakho Aghahowa, Mathias Martins, Yaya Kone, Moses Ojo Oluwadamilare, Sunday Adetunji, Austine Ogunye
Mamelodi Sundowns Starting XI: Kennedy Mweene, Ricardo, Nusa Lebusa, Rivaldo Coetzee, Lyle Lakay, Samuel Mabunda, Hlompho Kekana, Thapelo Morena, Anthony Laffor, Leandro Sirino, Lebohang Maboe