Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane is going into Friday’s CAF Champions League semi-final, first leg against Moroccan side Wydad Athletic Club not thinking too highly of his team’s chances of winning.
Mosimane says the fact that they haven’t scored, never mind winning, each time they have visited the 2017 champions, makes him careful not to think that they all of a sudden have a chance this time around. Sundowns, who won the Champions League in 2016, visit the Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat for Friday night’s first leg (9pm kick off), before hosting the Moroccans at the Lucas ‘Masterpieces’ Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville, Tshwane, in next Saturday’s second leg.
“We know that Sundowns doesn’t win in [Casablanca] and we haven’t scored, so those are facts, I cannot be saying, ‘Ah we can win in Casa, we will win’ – what’s my reference? But I’ve got a reference in Pretoria that we win, that I have a reference. And there’s a goal in Pretoria,” says Mosimane.
The last time Sundowns visited Wydad was in both teams’ last Group A match, on 16 March, where Wydad beat Sundowns 1-0 to usurp their top spot and finish as the group winners, while The Brazilians came second. Sundowns, though, did beat Wydad when they hosted them at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in January, as Themba Zwane’s brace helped them bag a 2-1 win.
Finishing second in their group meant Sundowns would be drawn against one of the competition’s better teams in the quarter-final stage, as they would face one of the group winners, which turned out to be Egyptian giants Al Ahly. But Mosimane’s men made light work of the record eight-time champions, as their heavy 5-0 win at home in the first leg made the trip up north much easier. They lost 1-0 in the second leg in Alexandria to advance 5-1 on aggregate.
Despite his reservations about bagging a win in Morocco, Mosimane, though, is relieved that they have the advantage of having to play the return leg at home. “We’ve never played them away first, so let’s see how they respond now, when they know they have to come here. It’s in our hands when we’re here.
“What’s important is to try and score, we haven’t broken that ice, we haven’t scored in Wydad. So we need to try and score, try and win; and even if you don’t win, 1-1 would be nice, try and score away,” says Jingles.