The ‘Brazilians’ as the host are nicknamed came into the match confident of a win following their 2-0 away victory in Setif against Algerian side, ES Setif, which was nullified following the latter’s disqualification from the competition.
The win sees the South African champions moving to the summit of the group tied on three points with Zamalek.
The game got off to a slow start, as both clubs were cautious in their approach. As expected, Mamelodi Sundowns danger-man, Khama Billiat was the first to ask questions when his stinging shot came close to opening the score sheet for the home side.
However, this proved to be a wake-up call for the Nigerians as Ifeanyi Onuigbo tested Wayne Sandilands with a well-struck long-range effort, which was punched out of danger by the shot stopper, who came in for the suspended Denis Onyango.
The visitors came out of the tunnel a completely different side and were duly rewarded on the hour mark when Dare Ojo unleashed an unexpected rocket from outside the box that gave the Sundowns keeper no chance to level matters.
From then on, it was all to play for as both teams created numerous scoring opportunities but failed to convert their chances.
Both teams looked to have settled for a point apiece before defender, Wayne Arendse secured three points for the home side with the winner on 78 minutes to send them to the top of the group.
Speaking after the match, Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane said a win would make it slightly easier for them when they head to Nigeria in the reverse but they need to be tactically careful.
“I believe we can come out of Nigeria with a win but in such competitions we need to remain disciplined throughout the game. I think we took our foot of the pedal a bit in the second half and we were punished for that. I warned them (the players) against the danger of allowing them to shoot from outside and that’s exactly how we conceded. They are a good side that keeps structure but we matched them in every department. The win is good but we still have a long way to go,” said Mosimane.