Mamelodi Sundowns began life without Pitso Mosimane with a 1-0 loss to Bloemfontein Celtic in the MTN8 quarter-finals on Sunday evening.
The era without Pitso Mosimane began as Sundowns gave Peter Shalulile, Haashim Domingo and Nyiko Mobbie their debuts, while Celtic were missing Ndumiso Mabena through fitness issues.
Sundowns went close to grabbing a fifth-minute breakthrough courtesy of Ricardo Nascimento’s snap-shot in the area from a corner by Lyle Lakay, but Celtic goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane smothered.
The visitors started to regain momentum in the latter stages of the first half, with speculative balls in and around the Sundowns area from Motebang Sera amongst others caused a few nerves.
An excellent piece of goalkeeping from Mabokgwane on the half-hour mark parried Gaston Sirino’s back-heel attempt from the near post following Lakay’s cross from the left-side.
Sundowns had the ball in the back of the net five minutes to halftime when Shalulile jumped onto a diagonal ball for a routine header, only for the flag to go up having strayed offside.
Shalulile was out firing in the second half when the Namibian got around the Celtic defence to bring Mabokgwane to a smart save off an equally smart attempt.
In trademark fashion, captain Hlompho Kekana rattled the underside of the crossbar on 58 minutes with a powering strike from outside the six-yard area as Masandawana continued probing.
Former Cape Town City striker Kermit Erasmus was given his debut by the Brazilians four minutes later when he replaced Domingo.
However, Masandawana were behind against the run of play inside the last 20 minutes when a free-kick from Sifiso Ngobeni found Victor Letsoalo who nodded beyond a scrambling Denis Onyango.
The Brazilians battled to get going with full-time on the horizon, whilst Siwelele ran down the remaining minutes to join SuperSport United, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs in the semi-finals.
Sundowns: Onyango, Mobbie, Lakay, Nascimento, Madisha, Kekana, Domingo, Coetzee, Shalulile, Sirino, Zwane.
Subs: Mweene, Makgalwa, Lebusa, Maluleka, Modiba, Erasmus, Jali, Mkhulise, Mkhuma.
Celtic: Mabokgwane, Ngobeni, Luthuli, Mahashe, Lingwati, Sera, Mashikinya, Letsoalo, Baloyi, Tchilimbou, Pfumbodzai.
Subs: Chaine, Rikhotso, Maema, Matjila, Smith, Mangweni, Njoti, Masuku, Kobedi.