The Star Late Edition

This was the first half – Sundowns coach


MAMELODI Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi believes his team were “the better team football-wise” despite losing 2-0 to Al Ahly in their Champions League quarter-final first leg in Cairo on Saturday evening.

The South African champions dominated possession for long periods and created a couple of chances to score an all-important away goal, but unfortunat­ely did not utilise their opportunit­ies.

Against a quality team like Al Ahly, it would prove suicidal as the Red Devils scored through a wonderful strike by Mohamed Taher before a calamitous mistake by Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango gifted Salah Mohsen a tap-in during the closing stages and allow Pitso Mosimane’s team to take a two-goal cushion into the second leg against his former team in South Africa on Saturday.

“Like I expected, it was always going to be a tactical game, but I believe we played very well. We were just unfortunat­e not to score. I have never seen a team come to Al Ahly, come to Egypt, and dominate possession,” Mngqithi said.

“To see Al Ahly play a counteratt­acking game at home was very interestin­g to me.

“We started the game very well. We kept the ball very well. We played very good in the half spaces and forced them on to their back foot. I believe we were the better team football-wise but we lost the match.”

Mngqithi believes Sundowns can still overturn the deficit at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria but knows the task would have been much easier were it not for the late goal they conceded and the fact that they could not sneak an away goal.

“Unfortunat­ely we did not take the chances that we got. We hit the upright and we also missed another header from a corner kick.

“The second half was good. In fact, we were very good. But surprising­ly, when we played even better in the second half we did not create many chances like we did in the first half.

“But this (match) was the first half. The second half is in Johannesbu­rg. I think the altitude and the fact that we are playing at home will give us an advantage. We are a team capable of scoring lots of goals. The only setback is that we conceded two,” Mngqithi added.

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Manqoba Mngqithi

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