Pitso: Sun­downs need to keep calm

‘We have to turn the vol­ume up in Pre­to­ria’

Pretoria News - - SPORT - BONGINKOSI NDADANE bonginkosi.ndadane@inl.co.za SOC­CER

“PRE­TO­RIA? Have you been there?” Mamelodi Sun­downs coach Pitso Mosi­mane said these words with a huge grin on his face when asked if he thinks the Brazil­ians can over­turn the 2-0 de­feat Al Ahly in­flicted on them at Cairo In­ter­na­tional Sta­dium on Satur­day.

The eight-time African cham­pi­ons will go to Lu­cas Moripe Sta­dium on Satur­day with a huge ad­van­tage af­ter their dom­i­nant dis­play in the first leg of the Caf Cham­pi­ons League quar­ter-fi­nals. Sun­downs have to win by three goals or more to reach the semi-fi­nals like they did last year.

It’s a mam­moth task against a team that has mas­tered Cham­pi­ons League foot­ball. Al Ahly’s suc­cess is cen­tred on a dom­i­nant home record, which they com­ple­ment by man­ag­ing re­sults in away legs. The Egyp­tians will come with all their tricks and ex­pe­ri­ence to get the bet­ter of Sun­downs in a venue where Mosi­mane’s team are yet to taste de­feat in the Cham­pi­ons League this sea­son. While Mosi­mane ac­knowl­edges that it is go­ing to be hard to over­turn their first leg de­feat, he is con­fi­dent his side will play Al Ahly off the park at home.

“Come to Pre­to­ria,” he told Egyp­tian jour­nal­ists. “It’s a dif­fer­ent story. It won’t be what you say here. Ask USM Al­ger and ask Wy­dad (Casablanca). It’s a dif­fer­ent story. I can’t ex­plain it.”

The first leg was played with a friendly spirit de­spite Al Ahly keen to re­write the wrongs of last sea­son when they were thumped 5-0 by Sun­downs in Pre­to­ria. Al Ahly couldn’t repli­cate that win, but they did out­play Sun­downs to put one feet in the last four.

“We are pro­fes­sion­als. We need to keep calm,” Mosi­mane said. “I like your coach (Rene Weiler), he keeps calm. It’s the first time I have a coach I talk to dur­ing the match. He shows ex­pe­ri­ence. He is a big coach from Europe. My CV, I would put it un­der­neath his so as not to show it if he ever puts his CV on the ta­ble. I re­spect him be­cause he re­spected me. He is a big coach. We have to keep calm and re­spect the game.”

The re­turn leg will be a defin­ing mo­ment for both Al Ahly and Sun­downs. Sun­downs are look­ing to reach the last four like they did last sea­son and show that their win over the Red Devils last sea­son wasn’t a fluke. With Chiefs tight­en­ing their grip on the PSL ti­tle, the Cham­pi­ons League is very im­por­tant for Sun­downs.

Al Ahly on the other hand not only want to avenge last sea­son’s em­bar­rass­ment, they also want to build on their league suc­cess.

“I think that we played okay, we play well,” Mosi­mane said. “I am okay, it’s just that two goals is a bit dif­fi­cult for us to turn around. But we have to turn the vol­ume up in Pre­to­ria. We have to, we don’t have an op­tion. We have to score in Pre­to­ria. Con­grat­u­la­tions to Al Ahly, they are a big team with a lot of pres­sure. We man­aged to deal with the pres­sure. It’s part of the game, we ac­cept it.”


PITSO MOSI­MANE is con­fi­dent his team will play Al Ahly off the park at home. | BackpagePi­x

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