Pitso Mosimane would’ve been a worried man at halftime of the past weekend’s MTN8 quarter-final between his Mamelodi Sundowns outfit and Bloemfontein Celtic.
It was still goalless at the break at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday night, and having seen champions Cape Town City and Orlando Pirates already knocked out on the same day, Mosimane’s outfit were ready for the taking to complete a round of upsets.
To add to that narrative, SuperSport United beat Wits 3-0 on Sunday.
The Sundowns coach’s worst nightmare seemed to be coming true, with Ndumiso Mabena putting Celtic in the lead after 57 minutes with a sensational free kick.
The Premiership champions, though, showed real character as first Themba Zwane equalised with a penalty, before Mosa Lebusa buried a header to put Sundowns 2-1 up.
Keletso Makgalwa finished things off with a cool finish, and Mosimane was delighted with the temperament displayed by his side.
“You have to believe as a coach and trust your team. But the surprise for me is that in all the cup games we have played, we don’t come back. This time we did, and it was good to see,” Mosimane told the club website on Monday.
“As long as we played, the goal was going to come. It takes a bit of time. We did well, we controlled the game from the beginning.
“We just needed a goal, and I knew if we can get one, we can get a second. But the third was a cherry on top.
“We played a difficult and stubborn team that plays on the break, they suck you in so they can go out – same as Chippa United.
“But I told the boys we should enjoy it when the team plays like this and strive on it. Our rest defence was very good.”
Sundowns will face SuperSport United away in the semi-finals, while Polokwane City will host Highlands Park.
It’s back to the grind of the league for Sundowns on Tuesday, when they take on Cape Town City at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
Benni McCarthy and his team will be keen to make up for relinquishing their MTN8 title, having drawn with Baroka FC 2-2 in their season opener and beaten Stellenbosch FC 1-0.
🏆 Sundowns VS Cape Town City FC Previous 3️⃣ ABSA PL Encounters:— Mamelodi Sundowns FC (@Masandawana) August 19, 2019
📆 5 March 19'
CPT City 2️⃣:1️⃣ Downs
📆 27 Feb 19'
Downs 3️⃣:2️⃣ CPT City
📆 2 Feb 18'
CPT City 0️⃣:1️⃣ Downs#Sundowns #AbsaPrem #DownsCPTCity pic.twitter.com/OWKcymsofg