DOWNS READY FOR A FIGHT

Brazil­ians con­fi­dent of beat­ing Wy­dad and de­fend­ing CAF ti­tle as they make plans to in­clude USM Al­ger in north African trip

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

Mamelodi Sun­downs are ready to de­fend their CAF Cham­pi­ons League ti­tle – by hook or by crook. The Brazil­ians are so con­fi­dent of go­ing all the way to the fi­nal that they have al­ready made plans for the semi­fi­nals.

Downs will travel to Morocco next week for the re­turn leg against Wy­dad Casablanca, but coach Pitso Mosi­mane re­vealed they would pack for two weeks in an­tic­i­pa­tion of a pos­si­ble trip to Al­ge­ria for the clash against USM Al­ger.

Mosi­mane does not think Mozam­bi­can side Clube Fer­roviário da Beira will knock out the Al­ge­ri­ans in the quar­ter­fi­nals, so they have al­ready pro­vi­sion­ally booked their flights to Algiers.

Sun­downs will hope to take the first step to­wards their goal when they host Wy­dad this af­ter­noon.

Mosi­mane said they had done their home­work on the north Africans and knew what to ex­pect at Lu­cas Moripe Sta­dium.

He said he ex­pected a com­pact game as the vis­i­tors would try to frus­trate the hosts by de­fend­ing in num­bers and try­ing to catch them on quick counter-at­tacks.

Mosi­mane has cau­tioned his play­ers to be ex­tremely dis­ci­plined and not con­cede un­nec­es­sary free­kicks in dan­ger­ous areas.

“Make no mis­take, they are dan­ger­ous on set-pieces and we must try by all means to avoid them. They know how to use their aerial power in cor­ner kicks and free-kicks,” said Mosi­mane.

He urged his play­ers to take their chances and make use of their home-ground ad­van­tage.

“We are play­ing at home and we must make it count and take a healthy lead to Morocco.”

But he was con­cerned by their home record this time around as they have not won any of their three home matches in the group stages, un­like on their way to lift­ing the tro­phy last year. Mosi­mane said that, some­times, there was too much pres­sure play­ing in front of the home sup­port­ers and play­ers tended to make wrong calls.

De­spite miss­ing a few play­ers due to in­juries, Mosi­mane is still spoilt for choice with the likes of Oupa Many­isa and Ge­orge Lebese likely to make their de­buts for Sun­downs in con­ti­nen­tal foot­ball.

Liberian in­ter­na­tional An­thony Laf­for is def­i­nitely out of the first leg against the Moroc­cans with an an­kle in­jury.

Mosi­mane said he would be cross­ing his fin­gers that at least ei­ther Khama Bil­liat or Yan­nick Zakri make it this af­ter­noon.

De­fender Wayne Arendse, who has re­turned to ac­tion af­ter a long lay-off due to torn lig­a­ments in his left an­kle, played his first 90 min­utes on Monday against Free State Stars and said it felt good to be back on the field.

He missed about eight weeks of ac­tion and said he couldn’t wait to help the Brazil­ians de­fend their ti­tle.

Arendse said they had to get the business done at home be­cause this would make life eas­ier for them when they trav­elled to

Morocco.

PHOTO: THEMBA MAKOFANE PHOTO: THEMBA MAKOFANE

RARING TO GO Mamelodi Sun­downs de­fender Wayne Arendse says they must be ruth­less at home HOME-GROUND AD­VAN­TAGE Pitso Mosi­mane says Sun­downs have to win their home matches con­vinc­ingly

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