Ethiopian flag bearers Kidus Giorgis were eliminated from the 2017 Total CAF Champions League after suffering 1-0 home loss to reigning champions Mamelodi Sundowns in a packed Addis Ababa Stadium. Liberian international Anthony Laffor struck five minutes before time to hand the Brazilians precious maximum points away from home. Kidus Giorgis’s fairytale like journey comes to an end when Tunisian champions Esperance came from behind to force a two all draw against AS Vita Club.
The Horsemen stared to game brightly as they dominated on goal attempts at early exchange of the duel. A Behailu Assefa low cross was wrongly turned in by Motjeka Madisha who rattled the cross bar while attempting to clear the ball in the 5th minute. after two minutes another glorious opportunity was spurred by the homers as Burkinabe winger Prince Waongo failed to hit on target from close range. Kidus Giorgis carried on to dominate in efforts on goal whilst Sundowns were limited in creating chances. The Algerian referee awarded Kidus Giorgis a penalty at stroke of halftime after Anele Ngcongca was adjudged for handball. Salahdin Said stepped up and saw his spot kick denied by a confident Denis Onyango, who happened to be vying his former employers.
The second half saw a much changed Mamelodi Sundowns and a mediocre Kidus Giorgis midfield. The homers enjoyed a lot of possession in the early minutes following the resumption but they lacked the attacking edge. Onyango easily collected a shot from Behailu in the 56th minute while Laffor’s effort was cleared off the line by Ugandan goalie Robert Odongkara albeit the former protested that the ball crossed the line. Team captain Hlompho Kekana tested Odongkara from distance in the 64th minute before Tebogo Langerman was unable to beat Odongkara from close range in the 59th minute. The visitors brought the pacy winger Thapelo Morena for Ivorian import Yannick Zakri and the changes came in handy eventually. Morena set up Laffor to fire past Odongkara in the 86th minute causing a wide jubilation from the Sundowns dugout. Kidus Giorgis have literall done nothing to hit back after going down in the closing stages of the tie.
The result saw holders Mamelodi Sundowns progress to the quarter finals following Esperance from Group C. Kidus Giorgis, who were making their maiden CAF Champions League group stages outing, were unbeaten at home during the campaign until Sundowns broke the jinx.