Sundowns had put one toe in the final of the competition with their 1-0 win over Al-Ahly at Loftus Versfeld Stadium last Sunday.
Thapelo Maseko's goal ensured that the Brazilians continued an interesting trend of having not lost to the Egyptian side in their last 15 visits to South Africa.
However, squaring off with the Red Devils in Cairo was going to be a different ball game, and the first half of the affair proved that quite well.
The Brazilians though, despite the odds played a goalless draw with Al Ahly to book a place in the maiden final of the African Football League.
Job done in Cairo! ✅ The Brazilians are headed to the first ever #AFL Final! 🏆
— Mamelodi Sundowns FC (@Masandawana) November 1, 2023
Let's delve into the match summary.
A penalty miss for Al Ahly in the first half
Marcel Koller's team started like a house on fire, forcing Sundowns with an early error.
A Penalty was awarded to the hosts after Ronwen Williams was adjudged to have brought Percy Tau down in the 8th minute.
Ali Maaloul stepped on to take the spotkick which Williams thwarted to keep Masandawana still ahead in the tie.
The save spurred Sundowns to get a foothold in the game in front of a very intimidating crowd.
Al Ahly continued to create chances with Mahmoud Kahraba firing off the post midway into the half.
The other real chance of the remaining minutes before the break fell to Tau who could have scored against his former employers, but instead volleyed over the top of the woodwork.
Mamelodi Sundowns held their own
The second half began in like fashion as the first half.
The Red Devils attacked Sundowns as they looked to draw back on level terms, however, Williams stood strong in goal to deny every shots aimed at the goalpost.
With Rhulani Mokwena's side still in charge, series of changes weremade. First, Themba Zwane was taken off for Junior Mendieta who came on in the 71st minute.
As hostilities continued, Thapelo Maseko and Marcelo Allende left the fray for Sphelele Mkhulise and Mosa Lebusa in the 82nd minute.
While Masandawana were trying to see off the game, Mendieta committed a high tackle and was given his marching orders reducing the visitors to ten men.
Masandawana nonetheless remained strong to see out the rest of the game, marching on to another continental final.
The Brazilians will take on Wydad Casablanca in the finals of the inaugural African Football League on 11 November.
Al Ahly vs Mamelodi Sundowns confirmed lineups
Al Ahly: El Shewany (GK); Dieng, Rabia, Abdelmonem, Maaloul; Tawfik, Attia, Ashour, Tau, El Shahat, Kahraba.
Subs: Makhlouf, Shobeir, Abdelfattah, Ibrahim, Hany, Mohammed, Koka, Abdelkader, Slim, Afhsa, Modeste, Mohsen.
Mamelodi Sundowns: Williams (GK); Mvala, Coetzee, Boutouil, Mudau, Kekana, Modiba, Allende, Zwane, Sirino, Maseko.
Subs: D. Onyango, De Reuck, Lebusa, B. Onyango, Nku, Lungu, Mendieta, Mashego, Mkhulise, Mabena, Maema, Maboe.
Significance of Mamelodi Sundowns win
Sundowns recorded their first win over Al-Ahly in Egypt last year when Thapelo Morena's strike helped them to a 1-0 victory, but that was a close match.
Before that win, Sundowns had made five trips to face Al-Ahly in Egypt, losing three matches and drawing the other two.
For Sundowns to reach the final of the AFL, they had to beat or try to draw Al-Ahly in Cairo, which they did, marking their third draw away against the Al Ahly.
While these two teams are fiercely competitive on the pitch, off the pitch, there is mutual respect and admiration for what both teams have been able to achieve over the years.
Just as it has been in the past, this was a football contest between two tactically astute and disciplined teams.
This was just two African powerhouses slugging it out for the honour of a new trophy they both want to be the first to get their hands on, but after 90 minutes at the International Stadium in Cairo, it was Mamelodi Sundowns who booked a place in the final and a chance to another continental trophy.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago