Pitso Mosimane has said Mamelodi Sundowns’ CAF Champions League group stage campaign was riddled with mistakes, forcing the Brazilians to take their qualification for the quarterfinals right down to the wire.
The 2016 champions must beat Guinea’s Horoya on August 28 to guarantee their passage to the next phase of the continental tournament, and the coach insisted that only they were to blame for having not done this earlier.
“We know why we are where we are now,” Mosimane said after Sundowns were beaten 1-0 by Wydad Casablanca in Morocco on Friday night.
“We made two big mistakes. The first was the game in Horoya in Guinea. We conceded a goal when we were 2-1 up with four minutes to go, and I don’t want to talk about the game in Togo (1-0 loss against AS Togo-Port) because that is sickening if you saw the game. We should have scored five goals, but we lost. And when they came to SA we dominated and won the match. We also made one mistake against Wydad (when the North Africans played them at home back in May). My player thought the ball was out, but it wasn’t and they played it and scored with the header. That is a big mistake.”
Defeat in Casablanca on Friday meant Sundowns dropped to third place as Horoya beat AS Togo-Port, putting them out of contention for a place in the quarterfinals, while Wydad, the reigning champions, secured their spot in the next round.
The Sundowns versus Horoya clash in Atteridgeville later this month will be a battle for the remaining spot in Group C.
Mosimane is confident Sundowns, minus the errors that have plagued their campaign this year, will progress and even stand to face Wydad again later in the competition.
“We scored in three minutes after they got the first goal in South Africa. As Sundowns we don’t know how to sit back. We go forward all the time,” Mosimane said.
“The mentality in the Champions League when you play away is to sit back, but we don’t do that. There was no problem for us here (in Casablanca). We will win against Horoya and we will hopefully meet Wydad again, maybe in the semis. We know them they know us and we love playing them because they give us competition.”
He said Friday night’s match was a game of “moments”.
“I don’t think we are weak. I actually think we played better than we played them here the last time (in the quarterfinals last year). We took the second half. We were ok. They took one chance and they scored. My No. 10 Ali Meza got a chance and he didn’t take it, this was a game of moments. I think if they don’t score from a beautiful strike from range (by midfielder Anas El Asbahi) then probably the game finishes 0-0. That’s football, if you take your moment you win it.”