Pitso con­tent with tie

An away point is vi­tal as Downs try to re­tain their Cham­pi­ons League crown

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MATSHELANE MAMABOLO

PITSO MOSIMANE was a con­tented man af­ter Mamelodi Sun­downs held Esper­ance to a goal­less draw in their CAF Cham­pi­ons League Group C match in Tu­nis on Wed­nes­day night.

While the out­come meant the Brazil­ians re­mained three points be­hind the Tu­nisian gi­ants and joint sec­ond with Ethiopia’s St Ge­orge, Mosimane was pleased that they are still in the run­ning for the knockout stage with two matches to go.

“It’s a pos­i­tive re­sult,” he said. “We are sec­ond in the group and two teams go through. So we’re okay.”

Ob­vi­ously a win would have been most wel­come, but in the tough Cham­pi­ons League a point on the road is al­ways wel­come.

“Of course we wish we could have won. And we had one clear chance in the be­gin­ning with Percy (Tau) but we didn’t take it. He might have missed a chance but he played very well.

“I think we played tac­ti­cally very well in what was an or­gan­ised game between two dis­ci­plined teams. We couldn’t be too emo­tional so we were care­ful how we played. Even Esper­ance, they didn’t want to open up and go on the at­tack and to­wards the end you could see they were play­ing for a draw.”

With matches away to St Ge­orge in nine days’ time as well as a home tie against AS Vita Club there­after, Mosimane knows that they have to get max­i­mum points in one of those if not both to stay in line to de­fend their ti­tle.

“You’ve got to be clever and see the big­ger pic­ture,” he said. “The key is to progress slowly un­til the six matches are fin­ished. And if you are num­ber one all the bet­ter, although even if you are num­ber two it is al­right be­cause you’re go­ing through.

“We are go­ing to Ad­dis (Ababa) next and it is go­ing to be dif­fi­cult. But Esper­ance are also go­ing to Kin­shasa and it is not easy (there).”

Mosimane is clearly ex­pect­ing the other teams to can­cel each other out some­how in the re­main­ing two games while he hopes to lead the hold­ers to suc­ces­sive vic­to­ries.

Hav­ing been held at home by St Ge­orge, Sun­downs will be ea­ger to get the bet­ter of the team many had seen as the group’s po­ten­tial whip­ping boys in their own back­yard.

Win there and they will need to just com­plete the dou­ble on a Vita side they whipped out in Kin­shasa and most prob­a­bly fin­ish top of the group – an out­come that will de­pend largely on Esper­ance los­ing to the Con­golese out­fit.

Mosimane, though pleased with the point in Tu­nisia, lamented their de­feat by Esper­ance in At­teridgeville in the first leg en­counter.

“The dif­fer­ence is that in the first game we had eight play­ers in­jured and tonight we had three of them back. At home we swept and gave them an op­por­tu­nity to score early. And then we also gave them a penalty. We shouldn’t have lost to them, and tonight we had three play­ers back and it re­ally made a big dif­fer­ence for us.”

He will ex­pect a much bet­ter dif­fer­ence when they take on St Ge­orge on July 1.

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