Mamelodi Sundowns bask in the euphoria of winning the first leg of the African Football League semi-finals after beating Egyptian side, Al Ahly, in what was dubbed the African Derby on a rainy Sunday afternoon at Loftus Versfeld.
Masandawana made a statement at home through Thapelo Maseko’s long-range goal which stunned the away team’s goalkeeper, Mohammed El Shenawy.
When reviewing what was a thrilling encounter, Coach Rulani applauded his side for the important goal that sees them heading to the second leg with an upper hand.
“A big congratulations to the team. I think firstly, the performance was very good. We played well, we controlled the game, and we gave zero chances in both the first and second half. We created a lot of chances, but we take the 1-0 victory. A big congratulations to Mamelodi Sundowns, the players in particular.
With the one goal advantage they already have, Bafana Ba Style will have to search for more goals on the 2nd leg and find the back of the net so they may see themselves in the final. Coach Rulani believes that Maseko’s goal is not the last goal to be scored by his side in these semi-finals.
“We have got a goal in Cairo, we know that and Al Ahly knows that too, and it stresses them a lot. The message that they have got is they know Sundowns can score in Cairo. You could see the frustration on the players when they walked off the pitch, because I would presume that the first thing they will have in mind is that Sundowns must not score an away goal. Let’s see what happens, it’s only half time. I think this will be an interesting game, but as I said, I think they also know that Sundowns has a goal in Cairo, if not two,” he confidently stated.
Coach Rulani further expressed his gratitude to the 12th man, the Yellow Nation, who came out in numbers to support Bafana Ba Style and remained until the very last minute, even though the weather conditions were tricky.
“I also want to say a massive congratulations to the Yellow Nation, our supporters, because they turned up in numbers, they pitched and played the game with us. Even Teboho Mokoena’s cry for help was received with warmth and a very humble reaction. There was a fantastic performance from the Yellow Nation in the stands, on both sides of the stadium which was amazing. So big congratulations to them and for their performance,” he concluded.