Downs face tough task
Haras el-Hadoud might have been beaten by Sundowns in the CAF's Confederations Cup first-leg encounter at Super Stadium on Saturday, but their coach Tarek El Ashry still managed a smile after the match.
The Brazilians won that match 1-0 after Lungisani Ndlela headed home a superb Surprise Moriri cross just after the hour mark.
Ashry could not conceal his excitement with the slender defeat.
Though it is good that they did not allow Hadoud to score an away goal, Sundowns made heavy weather of the proceedings and difficult for themselves to qualify for the mini-league stages of the tournament.
They are now faced with the huge task of overcoming the Egyptians in front of their supporters in the second leg in Alexandria, Egypt, in two weeks' time.
The winners in Alexandria will advance to the mini-league phase of the competition.
While Ashry looked cheerful after the match, his counterpart at Sundowns, Trott Moloto, could not afford a smile in a post-match interview.
He is probably aware of the difficulties awaiting them in Alexandria. Making matters worse for the Chloorkop club is that Hadoud will be at full strength in the return leg as they will have their influential players, who missed this clash due to injuries.
They are Abd El Salam Nagah and Hany Saed, whom Ashry described as "important" in the team.
Though Moloto said they dominated the Egyptians, he lamented their failure to beat Hadoud by an avalanche of goals.
"We should have beaten them convincingly at home to make things easier for ourselves in Egypt. We dominated the match but we could not penetrate their defence," Moloto said.
Asked if he was happy with their performance on the day, Moloto said he was considering that his players came from a long break.
Sundowns had 18 players for Saturday's match minus their new recruits who can only be registered in the group stages.
Speaking through an interpreter, Ashry told Sowetan afterwards: "I'm satisfied with the score as we did well not to concede more goals. We are happy we will have Nagah and Saed back in the team for the second leg and we will compete hard with your team."
Sundowns were business-like from the outset, pressuring Hadoud, who were forced to concede eight corner kicks in seven minutes.
Abd El Hamid Bassyoun nearly surprised the hosts in the 24th and 67th minutes but he fluffed his efforts.