Pitso Mosimane: Sundowns must find a way past physical Al Ahly

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane and analysts Mario Mash, Musa Matlaba and Gooolam Valodia during their training session and press conference at Chloorkop on March 05, 2020 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane and analysts Mario Mash, Musa Matlaba and Gooolam Valodia during their training session and press conference at Chloorkop on March 05, 2020 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane says they must nullify the physical strength and body power of Al Ahly players during their Caf Champions League‚ quarterfinal clash at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday.

The Brazilians go into the second leg of the quarterfinal trailing 2-0 from the away leg in Cairo last weekend and the 2016 champions need to win at least 3-0 to progress to their second successive semifinal.

“They play exactly the same way they played last year‚” Mosimane said of Ahly‚ who Sundowns beat 5-1 on aggregate in the 2018-19 quarters.

“They are structured‚ they have body and they come inside all the time. They put bodies and that is not what South African football is about.

“Here‚ if you look at a team like Bloemfontein Celtic‚ there is a player like Tebogo Potsane and what‚ what. You know‚ the smaller ones‚ but in the Champions League there is nothing like that.

“It is more about power and the strength – just look at their players all over the field. You must have the right physique.

“They put interplay – if you look at their second goal against us in Cairo last weekend‚ it was interplay. They don’t do combination play like we do here in SA.”

To deal with Ahly’s strength‚ Mosimane said he will use players like Gaston Sirino‚ Sibusiso Vilakazi and Themba Zwane – players who can control the tempo of the game with their passing abilities – to unlock the Egyptian giants.

“We use guys like Gaston‚ ‘Mshishi’ [Zwane] and ‘Vila’ [Vilakazi] to control the game‚ and it helps a lot us being here at home.

“Away from home Ahly bring you down every break you get and you can’t play your normal football. But it’s the way it is and if you want to win the Champions League you don’t cry because no one is going to listen to you.”

Sundowns lost to Moroccan giants Wydad Casablanca in the semifinals last year. Mosimane affimrewd it is difficult to win the Champions League.

“It is not about how you qualified to the knockout stages – it’s about the last eight teams‚” Downs’ coach said.

“Whether you came second or first in your group‚ it doesn’t matter. You are going to get Al Ahly‚ Etoile du Sahel‚ Wydad or Raja Casablanca.

“It’s the Champions League‚ guys – welcome to the real world. I also want SA teams to come to the top eight‚ come and let’s see because that’s where football is.”

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