Mamelodi Sundowns made a winning start to their CAF Women’s Champions League campaign with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over tournament debutants JKT Queens on Sunday.
Second half goals from Lebogang Ramalepe and Refilwe Tholakele earned the South African giants an opening Group A win at Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly.
Sundowns quickly asserted their authority and experience against first-timers JKT as Ramalepe fired them ahead on 41 minutes.
Tholakele then wrapped up a vital three points by clinically beating goalkeeper Najat Abass Idrissa on 75 minutes.
“We are delighted with our performance and to start with a win which boosts confidence,” player of the match Ramalepe said.
The result makes it three wins from three CAF meetings between Sundowns and East African opponents after previous successes over Kenya’s Vihiga Queens and TP Mazembe of DR Congo.
JKT coach Esther Fredy Chaburuma felt pivotal moments went against her youthful Tanzanian team on their Champions League bow.
“Sundowns capitalised on their opportunities which we didn’t,” she reflected. “Experience also played a role and we made rookie mistakes.”
But Chaburuma believes JKT will learn from testing themselves against the continent’s elite in Cote d’Ivoire.
Meanwhile, Sundowns turn focus to topping the group when they take on Sporting Club de Casablanca next.
Post match comments :
Esther Fredy Chaburuma, Coach of JKT Queens
“Mamelodi Sundowns capitalized on the opportunities that came their way, which was not the case for us. Experience also played a role. We made rookie mistakes, but we will learn from our performance and return on Wednesday with better intentions.”
Jerry Tshabalala, Coach of Mamelodi Sundowns
“I am more satisfied with our second half. In the first half, our opponent gave their best, and in the second half, they seemed to run out of steam, allowing us to impose our rhythm. For the next match against Casablanca, we will give our best as we aim for the top spot in this group.”
Lebogang Ramalepe, Player of the Match
“We are delighted with our performance and to start the tournament with a victory, which boosts our confidence. Everyone sees us already in the final, but honestly, we take one game at a time, doing things step by step.”