“Last year we believed we deserved to win.” – Coach Manqoba Mngqithi.

Mamelodi Sundowns made history in the CAF Champions League on Saturday evening at the Cairo International Stadium.

Bafana Ba Style defeated Egyptian giants Al Ahly SC by 1 – 0 for the first time in the continental cup competition after five successive defeats in Cairo. The Brazilians’ resilience against the Red Devils paid off in the final moments of the encounter after both teams tussled for over 80 minutes without a goal. Downs Co-Coach Manqoba Mngqithi expressed his long awaited wish to conquer his Egyptian rivals in the post match press conference.

“To be honest, even last year we believed that we had a team that could win, we were training a team that we also knew has got a little bit of capacity to win. To be honest, Al Ahly has also played a lot of matches, that’s why we had to drag the game a little bit and make sure that they don’t get an early goal because we knew that as the game progressed they might tire down. At the latter stages of the first half we could’ve punished them, and in the latter stages of the second half that’s when we punished them, we anticipated what they might bring and we were confident that the team we have has got the capacity.”

“We were still unhappy about what happened last year because even last year we believed we deserved to win. We’ve always wanted to win, the last two matches that we played against Ahly if you were to check on the stats of those two matches we dominated in every front – shots at goals, box entries, crosses and counter presses. We were very dominant, if you were to check ball possession of the last two matches that we played against them, we were unfortunate because they punished us.”

Masandawana’s quest for their second star reached its conclusion in the quarter final stages last season after topping group B with 13 points. The Brazilians were then matched up against Ahly in the two leg encounters played, the South African Champions suffered a 2 – 0 loss away followed by a 1 – 1 draw in Pretoria.

“We made two silly mistakes in the first half here, where [Taher] Mohamed came inside and scored with the right foot. We know Taher is always dangerous there and we had analysed that and unfortunately in the latter stages of the match the goalkeeper also committed an error which gave them a big advantage going to South Africa.” Expressed the winning coach.

Coach Manqoba also shared his game plan that contributed to the night’s triumph:

“Our plan was always to try to defend from zone 2 so that we minimize the space behind our defense and we are able to close the pockets in the half spaces. We [expected] more especially when they brought [Hussein Ali] El Sahaat that they are going to be using the half spaces in those pockets to make sure that we drop a little bit, but we still put a lot of pressure on the ball which I think we did very well.”

Ali Maaloul constantly pressured Masandawana’s defense with crosses into the box, however the Tunisian’s enthusiasm in attack was dealt with by the outstanding defense of the visitors.

“Their main player who causes a lot of problems when they enter the box is always Maaloul with his left foot, he’s got a very good delivery, he finds the half spaces easily and he also has the ability to find the space behind the defense. We had to make sure that we try to close his left foot and force him to the inside which we did, but on a few occasions when he got the chance to put the ball in the box it was always looking deadly.”

Mamelodi Sundowns moved up to the number one position with seven points in group A of the CAF Champions League after three matches played. The Brazilians are back in action on Wednesday in the domestic league competition against TS Galaxy.

2 Responses
  1. Mfana

    Since Sundowns conceded those 2 goals domestically have not performed well,I don’t know whether it’s complacency, lack of self belief or its too much rotations a of players but something is not right. I wish them an outright win against the Rockets,yes they can frustrate us, but I believe there’s no room for fancy football if we consider the state of fixture congestion &jet lag taking its toll against us.Here is the league,the champions League & Nedbank cup all need to be taken care of.Kaboyelo we still behind you all the way.

  2. DOWNS4EVER

    The problem is over reliance on same players who are producing poor results every game.If you can zoom in wisely on our last game,the introduction of Domingo changed the whole complexion of the game,we started to become dangerous,had more mobility.The point is our heart in the middle has ceased functioning,AJ losses balls cheaply even when not under pressure,his passing is very bad and yet he plays every game,i wish he stays injured for the rest of the season.Zwane and his useless back heals is not helping,we lack creativity in the middle,the less said about Relani the better,you will sometimes forget he is still in the field.Domingo showed hunger,aggression and creativity,and mark words he will be in the stands come next game,We need fresh and hungry players,we have Maema and Kapinga who can propel the team forward yet they are forever in the stands wheres players like Kutumale are always in the team when not injured for doing nothing.Maema was always our key to unlock stubborn defense,he created majority of Shaulile’s goals yet he is been overlooked hence Shaulile is struggling now because of lack of better services.Those three blind coaches are slowly destroying our team,killing our identity.Please stop making us play the soccer you have read in the books and let us play the Sundowns’way,give players freedom of expression,players should be selected based on performance not popularity or past history. Mweene saved us but the defense saved sure goals out of his mistakes,his distribution is not spot on, you are a senior player so stop behaving like a kid with a sweet in the mouth.We also need to give credit where is due,Mandela played very well in the past two game,his reading of the game was top class,you just need to improve on your heading ability because whenever you head the ball you make a foul or the ball land close to our 18 area,,you are going a great job.Riva also performed well,i wish to one day see the combination of Riva,Mokoena,Domingo,kapinga,Maema and Shaulile,we will cause havoc to the opponent,i doubt that will ever happen under those 3 cowards.Special credit to our number on soldier consistently,De Reuck,the boy is willing to die for the team,he is a true soldier and deserve to be the captain of the team.The win in Egypt is a monumental achievement. Good luck against Galaxy.

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