Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies have qualified for the semi-finals of the 2023 CAF Women’s Champions League with a match to spare after defeating Sporting Club Casablanca 1-0 in their second Group A match at Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly on Wednesday evening.
Melinda Kgadiete scored the only goal of the game three minutes to half-time to secure the win for Sundowns.
Only the top two sides in the two groups at the tournament can advance to the knockout phase and Sundowns already tops Group A with six points, followed by JKT Queens with three points, Athletico Abidjan who they face in the final group clash on Saturday evening are third with one point ahead of Casablanca at the bottom with a point too.
The Hollywoodbets Super League champions made one change from the side that won 2-0 against JKT Queens in their tournament opener bringing on Kgadiete for Andisiwe Mgcoyi who was out of the match day squad with injury.
Sundowns dominated the first half getting chances as early as the fifth minute. Refilwe Tholakele found Lebogang Ramalepe in the box with the Casablanca goalie out of position but Laila Darough cleared the line to save her side.
Tholakele had an opportunity to score in the 12th minute but her shot from range lacked power making it easy for Imane Abdelahad to save. In the 19th minute the former African champions had a call for penalty dismissed by the VAR after Merhem Hajri’s hand blocked a Kholosa Biyana shot in the box.
The one chance the Moroccan side got was through a free kick in the 28th minute which Hajri kicked over the bar. Sundowns could have had the opener two minutes later from Karabo Dhlamini after they won a set-piece which was punched away.
Three minutes to the break Ramalepe spotted Kgadiete in the box and crossed to her and the Eastern Cape born forward headed home to break the deadlock.
Jerry Tshabalala introduced Lerato Kgasago for Kgadiete at the start of the second half. The half didn’t see them create as many clear chances even though they continued their dominance.
Boitumelo Rabale had two chances to double Sundowns’ lead in the 59th and 63rd minutes but one shot was tame and the other was off target. There was a late set-piece for Sundowns to extend their lead but Tholakele’s kick was blocked by the Casablanca defense in the 84th minute.
Chuene Morifi had golden chance to score immediately however her effort was well spotted and cleared by the Casablanca goalie.