Weekend Football Review

Mamelodi Sundowns confirmed their status as kings of African club football when they brushed off TP Mazembe in the CAF Super Cup final while in England, Man United, Chelsea and Spurs restored some order in the FA Cup.

Sundowns won the CAF Super Cup at the first attempt on Saturday by defeating TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo 1-0 in Pretoria. African champions Sundowns are known as the ‘Brazilians’ and the only goal came from Brazilian centre-back Ricardo Nascimento, who converted an 83rd-minute penalty.

The award of the spot-kick by the Egyptian referee was hotly disputed with Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana appearing to fall over Issama Mpeko.

Nascimento displayed coolness to tuck a low shot into the left corner of the net while goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo dived in the opposite direction.

UNITED, SPURS RESTORE FA CUP ORDER

Lincoln City boss Danny Cowley hailed his giantkillers for bringing the “magic” back to the FA Cup on Saturday but, 24 hours later, Tottenham and Manchester United restored order to the competition.

It appeared Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino and United boss Jose Mourinho had learnt lessons from Lincoln’s shock 1-0 victory over Premier League Burnley and champions Leicester’s similar loss to 10-man Millwall of the third tier.

But Pochettino was keen to end a tough week with a win following defeats to Liverpool and Belgian side Gent in the Europa League so he fielded almost a full strength side and was rewarded by a Harry Kane hat-trick in a 3-0 victory over Fulham.

Spurs will host Millwall in the quarter-finals but will be wary of the 2004 FA Cup finalists who have claimed three Premier League scalps this season already.

Mourinho, whose side beat St Etienne 3-0 in their Europa League clash last Thursday, made several changes to his line-up.

Unlike Leicester counterpart Claudio Ranieri, who made 10, it didn’t backfire as United came from 1-0 down to beat Blackburn 2-1 although Mourinho had to call on veteran Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to come off the bench to seal victory.

MESSI TO THE RESCUE

Barcelona needed a last-minute Lionel Messi penalty to see off lowly Leganes 2-1 as a poor week for the Spanish champions continued on Sunday.

Barca were thrashed 4-0 by Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday to leave their Champions League hopes hanging by a thread and had to rely on Messi for snatching all three points from another below par display.

The Argentine opened the scoring after just four minutes, but Leganes enjoyed the better of the chances and levelled 19 minutes from time through Unai Lopez.

However, Messi ensured Barca did move back up to second in La Liga and close to within a point of leaders Real Madrid, who have two games in hand, from the spot after Neymar had been chopped down inside the area.

 

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