Sundowns on verge of history

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane crowned coach of the months of January and February during the Absa Premiership Player and Coach of the month for January and February 2016 at PSL Press Conference room on April 06, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture: Sydney Seshibedi / Gallo Images
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane crowned coach of the months of January and February during the Absa Premiership Player and Coach of the month for January and February 2016 at PSL Press Conference room on April 06, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Picture: Sydney Seshibedi / Gallo Images

We will play our normal game against Zamalek, says confident Mosimane

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane expects a completely different game from Zamalek in Alexandria in Sunday’s Caf Champions League second leg after the Brazilians swept the White Knights off the field at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday.

Sundowns take a healthy 3-0 lead to the second leg and stand on the verge of history and becoming only the second South African club after Orlando Pirates‚ who won the competition in 1995‚ to be crowned African champions.

With Downs’ excellent away record in this year’s Champions League they will be confident of lifting the trophy.

A lot could depend on whether the Egyptian authorities keep to a limitation of 20 000 spectators at the Borg El Arab Stadium or‚ given Zamalek’s desperate situation‚ relent and allow in a bigger crowd at the 86 000-seater venue.

“I think it’s going to be a different game in Alexandria. We’re going to have a lot of stress and pressure from the supporters‚” Mosimane said‚ almost in anticipation of the 20 000 limit not being adhered to.

“And, obviously, Zamalek come from a good reference where they’ve experienced winning 4-0 at home‚ and it became a 5-2 [away]. So that gives them a little bit of an advantage‚” the coach said‚ in reference to the White Knights’ scoreline in the semifinals against Wydad Casablanca.

Mosimane‚ though‚ pointed out that – big crowd in Egypt or not – the advantage is firmly in the hands of Downs‚ especially having not conceded a goal at home‚ which count double in the event of the aggregate scores being level.

“You never know what’s going to happen there. We will play our normal game. And if they have to push everybody forward we have speed at the front – and we can go out‚” he said. “So the monkey is on their back. It’s not on our back now.”

Sundowns have already beaten Zamalek 2-1 in Cairo.

The Brazilians also won 1-0 at home in the group stages.

Sunday’s second leg has been moved to Alexandria‚ and the crowd limit imposed‚ as a security precaution because of the tense political situation in Egypt.

Mosimane said once Downs had secured the three-goal advantage with Eslam Hamed’s 46th-minute own goal on Saturday‚ his priority became to preserve players on yellow cards who would have been suspended for the second leg had they picked up a further booking‚ including star striker Khama Billiat.

Billiat was the first to go‚ replaced by Teko Modise in the 65th minute.

Centre-back Wayne Arendse, whose booking on Saturday means he will miss the second leg, was substituted by Soumahoro Bangaly‚ the man who will also replace him in Alexandria.

Themba Zwane replaced Hlompo Kekana in the 86th minute.

“I didn’t only bring in Bangaly because I’m preparing him [for the second leg]. I also brought him in because I didn’t want to play with 10 men‚” Mosimane said.

“Wayne had a yellow card‚ and I didn’t have him for the next match. So I sacrificed. “My substitutes were not tactical. My substitutes were to take Wayne out because he could get a second yellow card [in the match].”

“And as he was walking off I was very angry with him [for time-wasting] because they could give him a yellow on the line. “And I think the same applies with Khama Biliat.”

“I took him off because he’s got a yellow and I need him in Alexandria‚ and I need a goal there. “And I took Kekana out also‚ because he’s got a yellow. “Thank God we scored three goals‚ so I just took out people on a yellow. There were no tactics.”

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