Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies dethroned CAF Women’s Champions League defending champions AS FAR Rabat in a 1-0 victory in the semi-finals of the 2023 edition played on Wednesday evening (15 November) at Stade Amadou Gon Coulibaly in Korogho.
The South Africans will face another Moroccan side, debutants SC Casablanca in the final set to take place on Sunday (19 November) at the same venue.
Kickoff is at 22h00 South African time.
With the semi-final win, the Brazilians booked their third final in a row – the only team to do so since the inception of the three-year old tournament.
Dubbed the ‘Final before the Final’ as it pitted the 2021 winners and the reigning champions, the feisty and sometimes physical clash was decided by a late Boitumelo Rabale strike (73’).
The result saw the South African representatives make it third time lucky against a side they had failed to beat in two previous meetings – which ended in a goalless draw and a 4-0 loss, the latter leading to Sundowns Ladies relinquishing the title they won in 2021.
But this time around, Jerry Tshabalala’s charges turned the tables on their opponents as they made it four wins in as many matches – seven goals and yet to concede.
Jerry Tshabalala, Mamelodi Sundowns coach
“We are in the final. I warned you. I would like to sincerely thank the people of Korhogo. We feel at home. Now, we will have to correct our little shortcomings to be at the top on Sunday and offer an extraordinary finale to this audience.”
The Brazilians were unstoppable going into the semi-finals as their dominance came to the fore, holding off challenges from JKT Queens (Tanzania), SC Casablanca (Morocco) and hosts Athlético Abidjan (Cote d ‘Ivoire), ending up with nine points.
AS FAR will have to pick themselves up to fight for bronze in the third place play-off when they take on debutants Ampem Darkoa of Ghana on Saturday evening (18 November).
Mohamed Amine Alioua, coach of AS Far
“I am the main person responsible for this defeat. I take responsibility for everything. The girls did everything right. Now we will focus on the small final. Even if the disappointment hurts, we will continue to do our best in our last game.”
SC Casablanca will be facing Sundown Ladies for the second time in this competition after their group stage match-up, which was won by the South African outfit 1-0.
In the second semi-final, not even extra-time could separate the two debutants as the Moroccans twice came from behind against Ampem Darkoa to force the exciting match to a penalty shootout, which the North Africans won 3-2 after a 2-all stalemate at the end of regulation time.
Comfort Yeboah (5) had given the Ghanaians the lead before she restored parity with an own goal to make it 1-all in the 32nd minute.
The advantage, however, returned to Ampem Darkoa through Jennifer Owusuaa’s (38’) long range strike, but Sporting Casablanca won a penalty which Agueissa Diarra slotted home in the 55th minute, taking the game to extra-time and the dreaded penalty shootout.
SC Casablanca held their nerve and emerged victorious.
SUNDOWNS LADIES ROUTE TO THE FINAL:
|2 – 0||vs JKT Queens|
|1 – 0||vs SC Casablanca|
|3 – 0||vs Athlético Abidjan|
|1 – 0||AS FAR|
SC CASABLANCA ROUTE TO THE FINAL
|1 – 1||vs Athlético Abidjan|
|0 – 1||vs Sundowns Ladies|
|4 – 1||vs JKT Queens|
|3 (2) – 2 (2)||vs Ampem Darkoa|
|FINAL||vs||vs Sundowns Ladies|
By Matlhomola Morake