Mamelodi Sundowns’ coach Pitso Mosimane left Cairo International Stadium to a round of applause despite his team losing 2-0 and their chances of progressing to the CAF Champions League semi-finals slim. Photo: EPA
Mamelodi Sundowns’ coach Pitso Mosimane left Cairo International Stadium to a round of applause despite his team losing 2-0 and their chances of progressing to the CAF Champions League semi-finals slim. Photo: EPA

Mamelodi Sundowns face a tough task

By Bonginkosi Ndadane Time of article published Mar 2, 2020

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Mamelodi Sundowns’ coach Pitso Mosimane left Cairo International Stadium to a round of applause despite his team losing 2-0 and their chances of progressing to the CAF Champions League semi-finals slim.

Mosimane was charming, confident and funny when he addressed the media.

He won over the Egyptians with his confidence and candid nature. These traits and Sundowns’ football are among the reasons why he is held in high regard in Egypt - even being asked to be an analyst on their biggest TV station during the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Brazilians have to produce a similar charm offensive on the pitch in the second leg at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday after Al-Ahly dominated them in the first leg in Cairo.

The eight-time African champions had a score to settle. Sundowns embarrassed them 5-0 in the first leg of the continent’s premier club competition last year.

Al-Ahly were motivated to show that there was just a minor hiccup and not a reflection on the their African dominance. Mosimane was honest in his assessment that the 2-0 defeat will be hard to overturn against the most successful team in this competition.

“I think that we played okay, we played well,” Mosimane said.

“I am Okay, it’s just that two goals is a bit difficult for us to turn around. But we have to turn the volume up in Pretoria. We have to, we don’t have an option. We have to score in Pretoria.

“Congratulations to Al-Ahly, they are a big team with a lot of pressure. We managed to deal with the pressure. It’s part of the game, we accept it.”

Sundowns need three unanswered goals to advance to the semi-finals where they will possible meet Wydad Casablanca - the same team they met in last year’s last four where the Brazilians crashed out.

But before they can think about Wydad, Sundowns have to prove to everyone why they are so confident when it comes to hosting teams in Pretoria.

Mosimane’s men have won all their games in the Champions League at home, a feat that puts them in a good position going to the return leg.

Sundowns will likely beat Al-Ahly on Saturday, but the key question will be will they do so with the goals they need?

“Pretoria? Have you been there? Come to Pretoria.

“It’s a different story. It won’t be what you saw here. Ask USM Alger and ask Wydad. It’s a different story. I can’t explain it,” Mosimane said in response to what will happen in the second leg.

This match will test Sundowns’ mental resolve. Al-Ahly are a driven and focused bunch after their humiliating defeat last year.

They have already captured the Egyptian league and they are looking for a record-stretching ninth Champions League title. Sundowns will have to work on their finishing as they had a chance to take an early lead but fluffed it.

Needing three goals, they have to be ruthless like they were when Al-Ahly last visited them.

Bonginkosi Ndadane

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