Sundowns still have to fight to reach Champions League quarters‚ warns Mosimane

Pitso Mosimane instructs players during the Sundowns Training at Chloorkop on 06 August 2019.
Pitso Mosimane instructs players during the Sundowns Training at Chloorkop on 06 August 2019.
Image: ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane says there is still much work to be done before his side can be assured of a place in the quarterfinals of the Caf Champions league‚ despite an excellent 1-0 away win at USM Alger on Saturday.

The victory at Stade Mustapha Tchaker in Blida‚ 45 kilometres outside Algiers‚ leaves Sundowns top of Group C with seven points‚ with a two-point lead over second-placed Wydad Casablanca. Previously Downs won 3-0 at home to Angolan side Petro Atletico and played to a credible 0-0 draw in Morocco against perennial foes Wydad.

The victory in Algeria was based on a stoic defence‚ and a moment of luck as a poor back-pass was seized on by Hlompho Kekana to score.

“I feel for him [USM coach Billel Dziri]‚ because I understand that the player made a mistake. And it is our life as coaches – we suffer like that when players make mistakes‚” Mosimane said.

“But I don’t think we are already in the quarterfinals – it is too early. No team has gone to the quarterfinals with seven points. We still have nine points to play for and we will have to fight for them.”

Sundowns mostly kept their opponents at bay with some ease‚ bar the start and the end of the match when they came under some heavy pressure.

“We are happy we won the match‚ we were very happy to pass the first 10 minutes because they put us under a lot of pressure. But we settled after that.

“The first 10 minutes were difficult‚ the last 15 minutes were difficult. We are used to playing [attacking football]‚ not to defend like we did. My team defended very well‚ but we did not play well. We usually play better‚ but I am happy with the result.”

Sundowns’ next fixture in the Champions League will be home to USM next month‚ where Mosimane warned the Algerian club that his side will be much more attacking as they seek the win that could seal that quarterfinal position.

“I can promise‚ we will play better at home than this. We will be much stronger at home‚” Downs’ coach said.