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Mngqithi says confidence is high in a season with no losses yet

Brilliant season gives Sundowns hope for champions league title

Neville Khoza Journalist
FILE IMAGE: Manqoba Mngqithi.
FILE IMAGE: Manqoba Mngqithi.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns are on course to match their own record of finishing the CAF Champions League group stages without tasting  defeat and probably going all the way to clinch their second title.

Following their historic  2-1 victory over TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi on Saturday, the Brazilians have defeated all the three teams in Group B with other victories against Al Hilal and CR Belouizdad seeing them with nine points and one foot in the knockout stage.

What is impressing is that they beat both Mazembe and Al Hilal away, and looking at their current form, it would be difficult to stop them in the group stages.

Last season Downs became the first SA side to finish the Champions League group stages without a defeat and they are on course to match that.

Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi was pleased with the famous victory away after achieving that playing with  ten men following Ricardo Nascimento’s red card in the second half.

“Fortunately, this season we had this situation before where we were losing 1-0 away from home [against Black Leopards] in the league and we played with 10 men,” Mngqithi told the media after the game.

“We ended up winning the match 2-1 because we always prepare for such eventualities. We know in a game of football, more especially in the CAF Champions League, you can get a red card out of nothing.”

Goals from Peter Shalulile and Lyle Lakay handed Sundowns that important victory.

Mngqithi also conceded that the absence of fans at the stadium due to Covid-19 had played a role in his side’s historic win.

“First, one should thank Covid-19 because, with your supporters, it is always different,” Mngqithi said.

“When your stadium is full, you always give a good account of yourself. The fact that we played maybe with not so full a stadium might have helped, but I must also not take credit away from the team. I think we were prepared for this encounter.

“We knew that we were playing against a good team but our confidence is very high. I think we have  played probably 23 matches now and we’ve not lost a game this season, which  is also a good account of the team and the way we are preparing. The boys fought very hard, I must say. There were circumstances in the game that were very difficult for the boys.”

Downs will host Mazembe on March 16 in Pretoria in the return match.


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