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Mngqithi: ‘If anyone can come back in this match it is Sundowns’

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi during the pre-match press conference at Chloorkop in Pretoria on May 20, 2021 for his team's Caf Champions League quarterfinal, second leg against Al Ahly.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi during the pre-match press conference at Chloorkop in Pretoria on May 20, 2021 for his team's Caf Champions League quarterfinal, second leg against Al Ahly.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Manqoba Mngqithi has bullishly declared that Mamelodi Sundowns have what it takes to overturn the 2-0 first-leg deficit against Al Ahly in Saturday’s home leg and reach the semifinals of the Champions League.

The Red Devils beat the Brazilians in Cairo last weekend and the two teams face off at the Lucas Moripe Stadium again, where Sundowns boast a highly impressive Champions League record at home of only one loss in 21 matches.

“I was telling the players that if there is anyone who I believe has the capacity to come back in this match it is Sundowns,” Mngqithi said.

Sundowns’ coach added that playing against Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane, who Mngqithi was assistant to at the Brazilians for eight years until just a year ago, would provide its own set of challenges for Sundowns.

“I will not hesitate to say that with all the teams that we have in the country, if there is a team that can overcome a 2-0 deficit at home it is Sundowns,” Mngqithi continued.

“I strongly believe that it is not going to be easy considering that we have to be ultra-offensive but at the same time we have to guard against counterattacks.

“We are playing against an astute coach who can play very quiet to make sure that he utilises the space behind our defence. We must be on top of our game in the defence, in counter-pressing and we have a bigger responsibility to make sure that at the end of the day we achieve the outcome that we want.

“I am confident and optimistic that if we apply ourselves and stay focused and we improve on the mistakes that we made in Cairo, it is possible. We don’t normally make those kind of mistakes.”

On the 2-0 loss in Egypt, Mngqithi conceded that Sundowns made life difficult for themselves.

“We made it hard for ourselves in Cairo by conceding two goals and not scoring even one. We really went there with the mentality to try and win away from home and I think we did fairly well in all aspects of the game,” he said.

“Unfortunately on the day we elementary mistakes, which we cannot dwell much into because we have the responsibility to look into the second match.

“In terms of the performance, we strongly believe that if we minimise the types of mistakes that we made, we stand a better chance of getting the results that we want.

“We know that it is going to be a tall order but we are confident in the group that we have.”


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