Petro de Luanda held tournament favourites Mamelodi Sundowns to a 1-1 draw in Johannesburg on Saturday evening as the Angolan outfit booked a place in the semi-finals of the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League with a 3-2 aggregate score.
In a dramatic tie at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, Tiago Azulao’s VAR awarded penalty secured a draw for Petro after Brian Mandela had put Sundowns ahead in the 49th minute.
Sundowns also had a first half VAR awarded penalty, bit Themba Zwane missed, while Petro had a goal in the second half also chalked out after a lengthy VAR check, the technology being used for the first time in the quarter final of the Champions League.
Masandawana were favourites for a second continental trophy after an envious run in the group phase, but the 2-1 defeat in the first leg hurt them the most as they could not overturn the defeat at home.
In the opening half, they had two golden chances falling on two of their best players. In the seventh minute, Peter Shalulile picked up a short backpass inside the box, but his eventual shot flew over the bar.
The home side had another close chance in the 26th minute when Neo Maema took a snap shot on the half volley at the edge of the box which went inches over.
Sundowns had a massive opportunity to head to the break a goal up when they were awarded a penalty following a VAR check after Joaquim Balanga was adjudged to have fouled Zwane inside the box.
The striker stepped on to take the spotkick, but saw his effort grease the outside of the bar and wide.
In the second half though, they had a perfect start when Kenyan defender Onyango struck them ahead after four minutes. The burly centreback tapped home from the edge of the six yard box after the keeper had spilled a freekick from Lyle Lakay.
Petro thought they had an equalizer six minutes later when Balanga had the ball inside the net after keeper Dennis Onyango seemed to have spilled a freekick from Jaredi Teixeira, but the goal was chalked off after a VAR review awarded a foul on Onyango by Pedro Pinto.
But the visitors kept their fight and had their goal in the 61st minute after another lengthy VAR review. Andile Jali was adjudged to have fouled Gleison Moreira inside the box.
Skipper Azulao stepped up and made no mistake to level the tie on the evening.
After the equalizer, Sundowns made attacking changes, Pavol Safranko, Lesedi Kapinga and Gaston Sirino coming on in attacking changes.
However, despite the efforts, Petro defended in numbers to ensure the score remained the same.
“I think we can take the blame on ourselves because we had chances and opportunities to capitalize on some of the challenges they had, based on the profile that we saw of them, but I don’t want to run away from the fact that we were playing against a very good team and they are not just push overs.”
“I still believe that our team was the better team on the day, but unfortunately that does not count when you did not put balls into the net.”
“In the Champions League, unlike in the PSL, you make one or two stupid mistakes you get punished, the goals we conceded that side away were all very bad goals,” Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi said after the game.
Sundowns will now turn their focus back to domestic league competition, on Wednesday they will host Cape Town City in the DStv Premiership at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.