9-Man Sundowns hold Wydad in Morocco as VAR takes centre stage

Mahmoud Elassal , Sunday 14 May 2023

CAF Champions League title holders Wydad Casablanca were held to a goalless draw by 9-man Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in the first leg of the continental tournament semifinals on Saturday in a game full of drama.

Wydad vs. Sundowns
Wydad s Moroccan forward Ayman el-Hassouni (R) fight sfor the ball with Sundowns South African defender Khuliso Mudau during the CAF Champions League semi-final football match between Morocco s Wydad AC and South Africa s Mamelodi Sundowns at Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca on May 13, 2023. (Photo: AFP)


Mamelodi Sundowns started the game strongly and Peter Shalulile scored a goal after 10 minutes, but it was ruled out for offside after a VAR review.

The South Africans maintained their dominance until striker Neo Maema was sent off in the 44th minute for a reckless challenge on Wydad midfielder Amine Aboulfath.

The hosts upped their game, making use of their numerical advantage, but Zouheir El Moutarji, Hamid Ahadad and Bouly Junior Sambou all missed good chances to take the lead.

With time running out, VAR was called into action again as referee Daniel Nii Laryea showed Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Marcelo Allende a second yellow card for a challenge on Wydad's Arsene Zola.

The result leaves the tie finely poised ahead of the second leg in Pretoria on Friday.

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