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Pitso Mosimane arrives with Al Ahly to face Sundowns in Pretoria

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane.
Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane.
Image: REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari

Mamelodi Sundowns will be backed up by their near impregnable home record in the Champions League when they take on Al Ahly in the second leg of their quarterfinal match at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday.

The Brazilians‚ who are trailing the Red Devils 2-0 from the first leg in Cairo last weekend‚ have proved to be difficult to beat at home in this competition in the past four years with only one defeat after 21 matches.

Incidentally‚ Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane was at the helm at Sundowns when they went 20 matches unbeaten and now has a chance to succeed where his predecessors failed by beating the Brazilians in Pretoria.

Sundowns co-coaches Manqoba Mngqithi‚ Steve Komphela and Rulani Mokwena were in charge during the loss to Algerian side CR Belouizdad last month at Loftus‚ and it was also the Brazilians' first defeat after 28 matches in all competitions this season.

Before they were beaten by CR Belouizdad‚ Sundowns’ last defeat in the Champions League was to Esperance of Tunisia in 2017 and they went on to turn the Lucas Moripe into a cauldron.

One of Sundowns’ famous wins in the Champions League came in April 2019 when they thumped Al Ahly 5-0 in a match where attacking midfielders Thema Zwane and Gaston Sirino dazzled with a lasting impression.

Speaking on arrival in the country with Al Ahly on Tuesday morning‚ Mosimane said the second leg gives him mixed feelings.

“Its mixed emotions but at least we broke the ice in the first match in Cairo‚” he said‚ adding that they had to arrive in the early hours of the morning because of the curfew.

“We couldn’t land any other time because of the regulations and the curfew‚ we had to land in the morning. Our 2-0 win in Cairo is a slight advantage in the game‚ but it’s like half-time. It doesn’t mean anything because football is football. How many times has a team been 2-0 down at half time and they come back in the second half to win the match 3-2.

“It’s a little advantage for us because it gives us confidence and puts a little bit of pressure on the opposition‚ but we will see how it goes.

"Al Ahly have been to Lucas Moripe on a number of occasions in the past and Sundowns used to take their Champions League matches there even during my time. It will not be for the first time Al Ahly are playing there‚ it’s okay as long as the pitch is okay.”