Super Eagles forward Michael Babatunde made a strong case to be included in Nigeria’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations squad after he posted a sterling performance in Wydad Casablanca’s 2-1 semi-final first leg win over Mamelodi Sundowns on Friday reports Completesports.com.
Wydad were quick out of the starting blocks, as Salaheddine Saidi’s glancing header six minutes in forced Dennis Onyango into action, while the Sundowns launched their first effort on target 10 minutes through Gaston Sirino’s powerful strike.
A swift counter-attack from the right-side 26 minutes in landed kindly to Saidi, who needed no second invitation to finally beat Onyango for Wyday Casablanca’s opener.
Sundowns went to sleep on 32 minutes as a first-time shot from Ismail El-Haddad give Onyango a few issues, thus needing a defensive clearance to save the day.
Babatunde playing as a false nine forced a brilliant save from Onyango in the 40th minute after a sublime interchange with El-Haddad played him through on goal.
However, Sundowns were level as Anele Ngcongca pounced on poor defending 42 minutes in to head home from a corner.
A minute into the second half, Sundowns were behind once again after Badi Aouk capitalised on sloppy goalkeeping for an easy tap-in.
Sundowns looked to perverse the score and oversaw a 56th minute change as Sirino made way for Phakamani Mahlambi.
Approaching the final quarter, the Wydad kept pushing forward for more goals and almost found a third in the final eight minutes when Themba Zwane’s headed clearance found the post.
As full-time neared, Masandawana failed to find a way back but head to the second-leg in a week’s time with the all-important away goal