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Leagues: CAF Champions League

Brazilian Azulao stars as Angolan club Petro upset Sundowns


Johannesburg (AFP) – Captain Tiago Azulao scored and created another goal as Angolan club Petro Luanda upset South African visitors Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 on Saturday in the CAF Champions League.

The quarter-final first leg result at the national stadium in Luanda leaves the tie wide open with the return match scheduled for Johannesburg next Saturday.

Lyle Lakay put Sundowns ahead after only five minutes, Azulao levelled on 16 minutes and Yano Duarte scored what proved the match-winner in first-half added time.

Victory for Petro in their first Champions League knockout-stage appearance since losing a 2001 semi-final to Sundowns marked a dramatic turnaround.

In their final group match two weeks ago, Petro suffered a 5-1 drubbing from table-toppers Wydad Casablanca in Morocco.

Having scored 21 goals in four domestic league and cup matches, 2016 African champions Sundowns travelled to Angola hopeful of winning with Namibia forward Peter Shalulile in top form.

But after Lakay netted off a deflected free-kick, Petro took charge and equalised when Brazilian Azulao slammed a cross past veteran Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango.

The home side deservedly took the lead on the stroke of half-time when an Azulao flick off a cross was parried by Onyango into the path of Yano, who made no mistake.

Sundowns pushed hard for an equaliser early in the second half with Shalulile, who has notched 27 domestic and CAF goals this season, twice going close to scoring.

– Penalty appeals rejected –

Petro had two penalty appeals rejected by the Zambian referee before Azulao had the ball in the net again only to be correctly ruled offside.

Silence enveloped the Estadio 11 de Novembro in added time when Neo Maema appeared to have equalised for Sundowns, but the goal was disallowed after VAR spotted a foul in the build-up.

There was still time for Petro to launch another attack and Onyango reacted quickly to turn a shot away at the expense of a corner.

Unlike Europe, where UEFA have scraped the away-goal rule in club competitions, it still applies in Africa, so a 1-0 second-leg win for Sundowns will suffice to take them to the semi-finals.

In another first leg, four-time champions Esperance of Tunisia drew 0-0 away to Algerians Entente Setif to confirm they are favoured to win the north African showdown.

However, Esperance will lack home support in Rades near Tunis on Friday as the second leg is being staged behind closed doors as punishment for recent unruly behaviour by fans of the Tunisian club.

The best chances fell during the first half in Algiers with Setif goalkeeper Sofiane Khedairia foiling Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane and Nigerian Kingsley Eduwo in one-on-one situations.

Ghaylene Chaalali then rattled the Setif crossbar with a free-kick while Esperance captain and goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia foiled Riad Benayad with a point-blank save at the other end.

Later on Saturday, defending champions Al Ahly of Egypt host Raja Casablanca while Chabab Belouizdad of Algeria will have home advantage over Wydad in the other first legs.

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