Laffor strike puts Sundowns into quarters
Posted: 1 July 2017 Time: 14:27
Kings of Africa Mamelodi Sundowns have reached the Champions League quarter-finals after edging St George 1-0 in their penultimate Group C match in Ethiopia on Saturday.
Anthony Laffor sniped the spoils from close range in the 85th minute at Addis Ababa Stadium.
The result, coupled with a 2-2 draw for Esperance at AS Vita Club, means Sundowns are assured of a quarterfinal place as St George cannot now overhaul them in second place.
Saturday's victory and a 0-0 draw at the start of the campaign in Pretoria means Sundowns lead the head-to-head as they prepare to host AS Vita Club in their final match next weekend.
In a gritty tie on a bumpy pitch, Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango notably saved a penalty on the stroke of half-time following a handball in the box by Anele Ngcongca.
Downs, the defending champions, also survived an early scare, as a Motjeka Madisha clearance rattled Onyango's upright barely four minutes in.
Soon after, Laffor and Tebogo Langerman flashed efforts off target at the other end.
The sides continued to battle for the ascendancy after the break, as Brazilians skipper Hlompho Kekana tested Ugandan keeper Robert Odongkara with a long-range shot just past the hour mark.
Laffor tried his luck from distance in the 71st minute but Odongkara saved at the second attempt.
However, the lanky Liberian was not to be denied when he pounced in the latter stages after being teed up by substitute Thapelo Morena.
Sundowns: Onyango, Madisha, Soumahoro, Langerman, Ngcongca, Kekana, T. Zwane, Vilakazi, Laffor (Hachi 92'), Tau (Nthethe 87'), Zakri (Morena 67').