ONYANGO THE HERO ONCE AGAIN

‘I wish we could have this at home’ - Coach Mosi­mane praises host’s sup­port­ers

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MA­ZOLA MOLEFE

MAMELODI Sun­downs coach Pitso Mosi­mane cred­ited his side’s nar­row 1-0 CAF Cham­pi­ons League win away against Saint Ge­orge on Satur­day to hav­ing a team with plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence, ar­gu­ing that they knew ex­actly how to han­dle the pres­sure.

The Brazil­ians, now through to the quar­ter­fi­nals of the tour­na­ment and still in with a chance to re­tain their ti­tle, weath­ered a first-half storm and could have gone a goal down be­fore the break, but goal­keeper De­nis Onyango pro­duced hero­ics to deny striker Sal­adin Sahid from the penalty spot.

They were much more com­posed in the sec­ond half, with An­thony Laf­for lash­ing home the win­ner in the 86th minute af­ter he was set-up by sub­sti­tute Thapelo Morena.

“It’s ex­pe­ri­ence,” Mosi­mane af­ter the match.

“We are for­tu­nate to have play­ers who are with the na­tional teams and are al­ways play­ing in these sort of sit­u­a­tions on the con­ti­nent.

“As a team we have a lit­tle bit of ex­pe­ri­ence too be­cause it is not the first time we are in the said Cham­pi­ons League.”

At the end of the group fix­ture in Addis Ababa against a very stub­born Saint Ge­orge out­fit, Sun­downs only had one foot in the next phase of the competition – un­til they heard that the re­sult be­tween the other two sides in their group, Esper­ance and AS Vita, went in their favour as the sides played to a 2-2 draw in Kin­shasa, giv­ing the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons pas­sage to the quar­ter­fi­nals with a game to spare.

The vic­tory on the road was made all the more sweeter, with Mosi­mane ad­mit­ting that Sun­downs had to dou­ble their ef­forts in sec­ond match against Saint Ge­orge, a team he feels his men took for granted in May when they played to a goal­less draw at the Lu­cas Moripe Sta­dium in At­teridgeville in their open­ing group game.

“If you look at the statis­tics, I think we had about 80 per­cent of the ball pos­ses­sion,” he ex­plained.

“The tempo was very slow. We were dom­i­nant, ca­sual, en­joy­ing our­selves, but we for­got to score. The play­ers know that we un­der­mined Saint Ge­orge be­cause they had never been in the group stages of the Cham­pi­ons League be­fore.

“But it was a les­son for us. I also think we were try­ing to bal­ance our sched­ule. We were play­ing back-to-back and still had two do­mes­tic games to play and were try­ing to win the league. So the team we used then is dif­fer­ent to the team we used now. There were eight play­ers miss­ing through in­jury.”

Mosi­mane also com­pli­mented hosts Saint Ge­orge for their hos­pi­tal­ity and an in­cred­i­ble at­mos­phere at the Addis Ababa Sta­dium, which was packed to ca­pac­ity.

“Did you see my play­ers? They were tourists, just ad­mir­ing,” the coach said.

“I wish we could have this at home and I prom­ise you my play­ers would be very dif­fer­ent if they got these sort of crowds for

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.