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Billiat’s late strike keeps Mamelodi Sundowns in fighting by the skin of their teeth

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SOUTH Afica’s Mamelodi Sundowns just narrowly came out of their Caf Champions League semifinal first leg match at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, Zambia with a fighting chance, Khama Billiat’s late strike keeping them in the tie.
Jackson Mwanza had stunned Sundowns with a double strike in two minutes in the 54th and 56th, but Billiat pulled back one of the most important goals he’s scored in his career in the 87th.
The 2-1 scoreline to Zesco – and a crucial away goal – have given the advantage perhaps even to Downs for the return leg at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday, September 24.
Zesco’s dangerous attack had Downs often stretched and defending desperately.
Though, after an opening period where the home side almost found holes at will, and the dangerous Jesse Were was through to force a fine save with his legs by Downs goalkeeper Denis Onyango, the Brazilians contained Zesco a lot better.
They had half-chances too. Khama Billiat miskicked his volley well wide from Thabo Nthethe’s cross having been found free on the right.
Tiyani Mabunda’s low shot from the edge of the area tested Zesco keeper Jacob Banda.
Sundowns had contained Zesco in the first half, but disjointedly. At the start of the second the Brazilians fell apart.
Left-back Simon Silwimba made ground down the flank and crossed, finding Mwanza to rise and nod a fine header past Onyango.
From a free-kick two minutes later Mwanza’s skidding drive cut through the legs of the Sundowns defenders and an unsighted Onyango was left standing as the shot snuck in at the left upright.
Downs needed an away goal to get themselves back into the tie. It did not seem to be coming as Onyango desperately saved from Idris Mbombo.
But then Keagan Dolly – largely anonymous until then – won the ball in his own half, advanced superbly and fed substitute Anthony Laffor down the right, whose cross match found Billiat free to finish off the left upright, and give his side a fighting chance.Advertisement