Hlompho Kekana: Reaching the group stage of the Champions League is non-negotiable. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Lebohang Maboe is under no illusions as to the kind of shift Mamelodi Sundowns have to put in if they are to progress to the group phase of Africa’s premier club knockout competition.

The Brazilians host Al Ahly Benghazi of Libya at Loftus Versfeld tomorrow with the tie even following a goalless draw from the first leg in Cairo last weekend.

To go through, the former CAF Champions League kings need a win while their opponents will be victorious should they force a draw with goals.

Speaking ahead of the match, Maboe lamented their failure to find the net in Egypt, where the match was played because Ahly cannot play in their country due to the political unrest there.

“Things would have been far easier for us had we buried the chances,” the Sundowns midfielder said. “We are looking to better things here and score the goals and kill the game.”

Lebohang Maboe: We are looking to better things at Loftus and score the goals and kill the game. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Lebohang Maboe: We are looking to better things at Loftus and score the goals and kill the game. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

For that to happen though, Pitso Mosimane’s star-studded team will have to be much sharper in the third to complement their impressive build-ups.

That achieved, Maboe says Sundowns must then make sure they keep Ahly’s danger men locked up.

“They are a direct team. They don’t build up much and prefer to play off the second ball. But they have got a pacy left-winger. I feel they are strong on the left because their fullback and left centre-back are also very good players.”

Unlike in the first leg when they went into the match with sketchy details about the opposition, Sundowns know exactly what they will be up against and Maboe says they must use this to their advantage.

Meanwhile, captain Hlompho Kekana has said that a win is a must.

“Reaching the group stage of the Champions League is non-negotiable,” he explained. “Everyone at the club knows that. We have very high standards. Reaching the group stage is actually a minimum requirement for us. We want to win the tournament for a second time.”

@Tshiliboy


The Star

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