Wayne Arendse scored a late goal to secure a 2-1 win for Mamelodi Sundowns over Enyimba in a 2016 Caf Champions League clash the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Leonardo Castro handed the hosts a 1-0 lead at the break before Oluwadamilare Ojo pulled the visitors level. Arendse secured all three point for the Brazilians with 12 minutes of regulation time remaining.
The win moves Sundowns top of Group B; level on points with Zamalek.
The game got off after a rather cagey start with both teams’ first chance of the match stemming from a counter-attack.
First Khama Billiat guided his rasping effort past the left-hand upright before Ifeanyi Onuigbo saw his his powerful shot saved by Wayne Sandilands; who was again stepping in for the suspended Denis Onyango.
The Brazilians shot stopper was called into another smart save just before the half-hour mark – this time to deny Ibenegbu Bartholomew.
Both teams retreated back into their shells towards the end of the half with a goal seemingly not coming before the break, but it only takes a second to score and after Keagan Dolly burst down the left flank, Castro poked home on 42 minutes.
The Colombian forward with a strikers finish to put the hosts a goal up at the interval.
Enyimba emerged from the tunnel a determined outfit and leveled matters just before the hour mark. Pitso Mosimane talked about Sundowns problems at defending set-pieces and after they failed to clear their lines from a corner-kick, Ojo rifled home the equaliser via the inside of the crossbar.
The People’s Elephant were on top and almost pulled ahead soon after – Oahimijie Kelly sending his header attempt wide from close range.
In stark contrast to the first-half, the second stanza produced chance after chance with both teams going at full tilt in search of all three points and after Castro went close to completing his brace, Arendse grabbed the winner.
The former Santos defender, who has been in outstanding form for the Tshwane outfit this season, guided the ball into the back of the net at the back post.
Sundowns defence held firm in the dying exchanges as the Brazilians grabbed a valuable win, subsequently condemning Enyimba to what could be a tournament ending defeat; considering the group has been reduced to three teams after ES Setif were disqualified.
Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 2 (Castro 42′ Arendse 78′)
Enyimba (0) 1 (Ojo 59′)
Mamelodi Sundows: Sandilands; Mbekile (Evans 90+1′), Nthethe , Arendse, Langerman – Mabunda (S.Zwane 74′), Kekana, T.Zwane (Malajila 73′) – Dolly, Billiat, Castro
Enyimba: Ocheje;Nzube, Kelly, Etor, Anyanwu, Bartholomew, Ojo, Pyagbara, Udoji, Akas (Osadiaye 83′), Onuigbo (Peter 57′)