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Sundowns expecting bruising Champions League battle from Al Hilal in Sudan

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena expecting a tough battle from Al Hilal.
Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena expecting a tough battle from Al Hilal.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena is expecting a tough contest from Al-Hilal Omdurman during round five of their Caf Champions League group stages clash in Sudan on Saturday.

The Brazilians go into this clash sitting at the top of Group A with ten points from four matches and victory will see them complete a double over the Sudanese after they beat them 1-0 in Rustenburg last month.

Sundowns will be motivated to get all three away points after morale boosting and back-to-back wins over Egyptian giants Al Ahly to tighten their grip on the group.

“They need a win. They changed their structure from the last game against Al Merrikh where they also needed three points. They played a different formation with two strikers, where traditionally they have played with a 4-2-3-1 throughout the group phases,” said Mokwena when asked to analyse their opposition.

“We will see what happens. We’ve done our work , we’ve analysed their last four games since they played us. They are a very interesting team with some very good players, some of the players that we know. They are a well-coached team and we expect a very difficult game.”

Since they arrived in Sudan earlier this week, Mokwena said they have been hard at work.

“We got a community field within the organisation. It is OK, it is what we have and we have to make do with what we have. We just worked on our activation and injury prevention, the major muscles in the individuals' bodies because with long travelling you always have the possibility of issues in the body.

“So you have to 'wake them up' and try to prepare from a physiological aspect. We travelled well, the flight to Addis Ababa was quite long but we are used to that when we travel to Khartoum.

“The layover was about four hours and then we had another three-hour flight to get us to Khartoum. We arrived in the early hours of the morning, at 4am, to have breakfast before resting and make our way to the pitch for a training session in the afternoon.”


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