Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies are in their third successive CAF Women’s Champions League final after defeating ASFAR Club 1-0 at Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly on Wednesday evening in a repeat of last year’s final.
It took the sole goal of Boitumelo Rabale in the 73rd minute to settle the match. Jerry Tshabalala named a full strength squad for the encounter bringing back regulars such as Andile Dlamini in goals and Andisiwe Mgcoyi who picked a knock in the first group match up front.
Both sides starting with clear intentions to score with chances coming in the opening 10 minutes. Chuene Morifi could have opened the scoring in the sixth minute after receiving the ball from Andisiwe Mgcoyi however, the former lost possession in the box. A minute later ASFAR built what looked like a wonderful goal starting from Fatima Tagnaout then captain Ghizlane Chebbak then Hanane Ait El Haj whose finish was too easy for Dlamini to save. In the 14th minute the Moroccan outfit lost possession just outside the box and the ball fell for Rabale however the Lesotho international took a tame shot easy for Rabbat’s keeper to handle.
In the 15th minute Chebbak found El Haj in a good position to break the deadlock but El Haj shot over the bar. Another opportunity came for ASFAR after Kholosa Biyana fouled El Haj giving away a free-kick. Tagnaout stepped up and forced Dlamini to come out and punch away. Sundowns got a great opportunity to score in injury time of the first half when Lebo Ramalepe after a good run on the right flank squared to Rabale in the box, but Rabale with only the keeper to beat she shot wide leaving the match goalless at the break.
Both sides made no changes at the start of the second stanza and two minutes into the half ASFAR had a chance to score El Haj saw a black jersey in a good position in the box and crossed but Banyana-Banyana international Dlamini got to the ball first. Three minutes later Rabale found Tholakele who had enough time to make a wonderful turn to aim for the top corner however the shot went wide.
Six minutes after the hour mark the combination of Rabale and Tholakele on the left saw the Botswana international take a shot from a tight angle but it was easily saved by Khadija Er-rmichi. The Moroccan number one was tested again in the 70th minute by Tholakele from range this time and was forced to come out to clear the ball, resulting in a corner kick for Sundowns. Tholakele stepped up for the corner and Rabale smashed it home with her left foot to break the deadlock and score the eventual winner in the 73rd minute.
While there was some late pressure from ASFAR, Sundowns held on for the win and booked their place in their third consecutive CAFWCL final.
Sundowns will play the winner of the match between Ampem Darkoa and Sporting Casablanca in Sunday’s final.