Sundowns is fearless at home
After an emphatic group stage campaign where they were unbeaten, Mamelodi Sundowns will be banking on their fortress in Pretoria in the knockout stages.
The Brazilians have just completed their best group stage finish, where they topped Group C with 14 points. The team cruised in what was a difficult group alongside Wydad Casablanca, USM Alger and Petro de Luanda.
On Saturday, they secured a 1-0 win over Wydad courtesy of a Ricardo Nascimento penalty in the final group match in Atteridgeville.
"It's good to finish on top, it's what we wanted. It's a positive change for the team in the tournament. We are growing slowly with experience. We understand the tournament more now," coach Pitso Mosimane said.
The tournament now enters the knockout stages. The eight teams that have qualified for the quarterfinals alongside Sundowns are Wydad, TP Mazembe, Zamalek, Etoile du Sahel, Al Ahly, Esperance and Raja Casablanca. Having finished top of their group, Downs will face one of the second-place finishers from the other groups. The draw will be done on Wednesday.
Mosimane feels his team will be ready for whichever opponent they face.
"It's either you play Zamalek or Raja or Al Ahly. We are going to get one of those. If you go away and don't lose then you sort it out at home.
"If we score away it's even better. Here [in Pretoria] it's very difficult for anyone to walk here. We know it's not easy in Tunis, in Lubumbashi but can anyone . say they want to come to Pretoria? It's not easy because sometimes you don't find the ball here."
The Champions League last eight draw will be held in Cairo on Wednesday, with the first leg games taking place at the end of the month.
Champions League last 8
Group winners: Sundowns (SA), TP Mazembe (Congo), Etoile du Sahel, Esperance de Tunis (both Tunisia)
Runners-up: Al Ahly, Zamalek (both Egypt), Wydad and Raja Casablanca (both Morocco).
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