Never write off Downs when they play at Lucas Moripe
One of those nightmares occurred on October, 15, 2016.
But that’s not how Mamelodi Sundowns’ supporters remember the day. For them it was paradise, taking a giant leap to claiming their maiden CAF Champions League title by beating Zamalek 3-0 in the first leg of the final in Atteridgeville.
Sundowns 3-0 Zamalek
This will always remain one of the greatest days in the history of Sundowns. Everything was set up for them to make it memorable. They had had a great run in the Champions League at home, scoring two or more goals in all their home games.
The packed crowd filled Lucas Moripe Stadium hours before the 3pm kick-off.
The sun was scorching hot. Sundowns played like a team possessed, scoring three brilliant goals that ended this tie as a contest. Zamalek were huffing and puffing at half-time.
This match had all the ingredients that make this venue a slaughterhouse for Sundowns - the heat, suffocating their opponents as well as a well-executed game plan.
“Not in Atteridgeville,” an incensed Sundowns’ coach Pitso Mosimane barked at SuperSport presenter Julia Stuart during a heated postmatch interview.
Mosimane’s bone of contention was the unsporting behaviour of Wydad Casablanca officials who didn’t take kindly to losing to Sundowns. The match had a number of fights and it spilled over to after the game when one official wanted to hear what Mosimane would say. Jingles lost it and asked for that official to be removed.
“The north Africans are always bullying everybody,” he said.
“Always! They bully referees and everybody. They don’t want to lose. We beat them fair and square. Two legitimate goals.
“They must go home.
“When we lose in Casablanca we don’t do anything, we walk out properly. What is all this? Wydad is used to winning, pushing and bullying the referee. Not in Atteridgeville!”
Mosimane’s fighting talk and the club’s display earned them the respect of Wydad. In that match Sundowns gave the Moroccans a taste of their own medicine, players falling over at the slightest of touches and disappearing ball boys. They rattled them mentally and then hit them tactically. It was a Champions League masterclass.
Sundowns 5-0 Al-Ahly
That’s the word that perfectly describes Sundowns’ performance when they slaughtered Al-Ahly at Lucas Moripe Stadium on 6 April last year. In fact, 5-0 is flattering to Al-Ahly because of the other many chances Sundowns missed. This could have been an even bigger massacre than it was. Sundowns punished the Egyptians’ every mistake.
There were five different goalscorers with everyone on the day pitching up.
The Brazilians will need all these elements - the heat to drain Al-Ahly, a solid game plan, taking the fight to their opponents by any means necessary and being ruthless in front of goals - if they are to overturn the 2-0 loss they suffered at Cairo International Stadium when they host the Red Devils at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday.