Goals from Lebogang Ramalepe and Refilwe Tholakele in each half ensured that Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies opened their 2023 CAF Women’s Champions League campaign with a 2-0 win against Tanzanian side JKT Queens at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly stadium on Sunday evening.
The COSAFA representatives were tested early in the Group A match by the Queens captain Donisa Minja from range in the fourth minute but Andile Dlamini was up to the task. A minute later Ramalepe found Boitumelo Rabale with a chance to put Sundowns ahead but her attempt went wide.
Ramalepe was on song on the right flank as she found Refilwe Tholakele but the Botswana international’s header was off target in the 19th minute.
Immediately after that the top goal scorer from the COSAFA qualifiers Andisiwe Mgcoyi had a shot to break the deadlock but it was punched away.
Three minutes after the half hour mark the Queens made moves forward however Dlamini was there to make an easy save. They didn’t give up with Minja finding the back of the net in the 36th minute however it was flagged offside.
Sundowns aware of the danger got back their focus and were rewarded four minutes to the break when Chuene Morifi found Ramalepe who tapped home the opener to hand Sundowns a lead at halftime.
In the second half Sundowns made changes bringing on Melinda Kgadiete for Mgcoyi and three minutes into the half Tholakele almost doubled the lead but Najiat Odrisa made a save.
Six minutes later Stumai Athuman tested Dlamini as her side searched for an equaliser but the Banyana-Banyana keeper made a calm save. Ramalepe could have completed a brace in the 68th minute but she gave a tame attempt which was easy for the Queens keeper to handle.
There was opportunity for the Queens to equalise through Jamila Mnunduka but her timing let her down in the 71st minute. However it was Sundowns who celebrated four minutes later as Tholakele finally scored her first goal of the match and doubled the lead for the former African champions.
The result sees the Hollywoodbets Super League champions in top position in the group with three points followed by Athletico Abidjan and Sporting Casablanca in second and third places respectively, both on a single point following their 1-1 draw in the tournament opener earlier.
The Queens from Tanzania are at the bottom with no point. Sundowns’ next group match is against Casablanca on Wednesday night.