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Champions Sundowns falter after whirlwind start

Sundowns won but will have to fight against a resilient KCCA in next week’s second leg to make it.

Pretoria, South Africa | AFP | Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa failed to build on a great start to their CAF Champions League title defence and won only 2-1 at home to KCCA of Uganda Friday.

The defending African champions were two goals ahead within six minutes of the last-32 first leg match at Lucas “Masterpieces” Moripe Stadium in Pretoria.

But the visitors gradually became composed and more adventurous and halved the deficit midway through the second half.

The away goal means a 1-0 victory for KCCA in Kampala next weekend would see a Ugandan club reach the group stage of the Champions League for the first time.

“We let ourselves down by not playing very well,” admitted Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane. “Now we must go to Uganda and fight for survival.”

KCCA coach Mike Mutebi said: “Scoring an away goal will boost our confidence, but a big battle lies ahead in the return match as Sundowns are a very good side.”

Ivorian Bangaly Soumahoro, one of five starters who helped beat Zamalek of Egypt in the 2016 final, nodded Sundowns into the lead after two minutes.

Brazilian Ricardo Nascimento doubled the lead on six minutes from a penalty awarded when Thapelo Morena was pushed in the back.

Ugandan international Geoffrey Sserunkuma, who has played top-flight football in South Africa, struck on 69 minutes by sidefooting a cross into the net.

The other 15 first legs are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

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