Thapelo scored with a brilliant strike in the 52nd minute as Mamelodi Sundowns earned a slim 1-0 advantage over Al Ahly in the first leg of the African Football League semi-finals played in Pretoria on Sunday evening.

This was the 13th match between the two African football giants, and Sundowns ensured their record of never losing at home to the Red Devils continued as they won their fourth match in seven duels in their own turf.

Morena struck seven minutes after the break, picking up a pass from Aubrey Modiba before firing low past Mohamed Elshenawy in the Ahly goal.

The home side was rewarded after dominating much of the opening exchanges, with good scoring chances especially in the first half. They had some good chances, with Marcello Allende having a freekick from distance go just over, while Rivaldo Coetzee attempted his luck with a shot from range but it skidded just inches off target.

Maseko had his first go at goal in the first half when he glanced in a header from a cross, but it was met by a brilliant save from Mohamed Elshenawy.

In the second half, Sundowns started with as much pace and they almost broke the deadlock a few minutes in but Modiba’s shot from 30 yards out was inches wide.

Soon after, Sundowns got their goal. It seemed to have added some power in their boots as they added more attacks and Coetzee came close to doubling their lead when he flicked a corner at the near post but it went agonizingly wide.

The Egyptian number one would make two more brilliant saves to deny Khuliso Mudau and Teboho Mokoena.

Ahly struggled to create many good scoring opportunities in the duel, and will have all to play for when they host the return fixture in Cairo next week.