Jeremy Brockie © Backpagepix
SuperSport United's second string side failed to garner victory against Al-Ahly Shendi in their Caf Confederation Cup first-round encounter, as they went down 3-2 on the night at the El Shendi Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Sudanese outfit proved dominant from the first whistle, and despite strikes late from Mario Booysen and Jeremy Brockie - El Shendi enjoy a one-goal advantage heading into the return-leg.
Ahly did all the attacking in the opening stages and should've taken the lead as early as the second minute, but their forward missed a sitter despite having beaten Matstsansa keeper Boalefe Pule.
The visitors struggled to get into their rhythm but almost found the back of the net against the run of play in the seventh minute when Grant Kekana's ball from the right flank found Aubrey Modiba unmarked in the area, only for the South Africa international winger to direct his header straight at the goalkeeper.
Thuso Phala looked lively for the visitors and his pace and trickery troubled Nemor Dar Gaal on a few occasions, but his final delivery into the area often proved poor.
Stuart Baxter opted for an attacking substitution in the second half when he introduced forward Jeremy Brockie for defender Morgan Gould, signaling his intention to go for the victory, but the home side continued their dominance.
Lassaad Maamar's side eventually broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute when they were awarded a penalty, which was subsequently slotted away and the goal injected the home side with more confidence as they went in search of their second goal. They were duly rewarded in the 71st minute when defender Khtab Faisal was in the right place to swoop home.
The South African Premiership side threw numbers forward in search of the away goal, but it was their opponents who came closest to adding another in the 81st minute. However, young goalkeeper Pule saved his side's blushes with a terrific stop.
Defender Mario Booysen managed to find a consolation goal for the visitors when he slotted home substitute Kingston Nkhatha's low cross, only for the home side to restore their two goal advantage moments later, as Baxter's side fell asleep at the back.
The high-tempo end-to end football didn't end there, as Baxter's troops found a vital second away goal in stoppage-time courtesy of substitute Brockie after some great work by Phala, but were handed their first loss in 10 games across all competitions.
The second leg will be played next weekend in Tshwane.