Can Mamelodi Sundowns turn their CAF tie around?

Can Mamelodi Sundowns turn their CAF tie around?
Siyanda Zwane of Mamelodi Sundowns shakes hands with Mwape Mwelwa of Zesco United

by Staff Reporter

Friday Sep 23, 2016. 08:58

Mamelodi Sundowns will be looking to overcome a 2-1 deficit when they host Zesco United for the return leg of their CAF Champions League semifinal tie on Saturday. The match is set to take place at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Tshwane, kick-off at 19h00 CAT.

The first leg in Ndola last weekend saw the Zambians power to victory thanks to a brace from Jackson Mwanza. However, Khama Billiat’s away goal for the South Africans gives them real hope of turning the tie in their favour.

The Brazilians have already recovered from first-leg deficits in a couple of Champions League ties this year, ousting Zimbabwe’s Chicken Inn in the preliminary round and falling on away goals to DR Congo’s AS Vita in the second round (though they were later reinstated after Vita were disqualified).

Coach Pitso Mosimane admitted he was not happy with the first-leg result, but believes ‘Downs can still claim an outright win on aggregate and progress into the final for the first time 2001.

"It’s a one-time opportunity for us in the Champions League so we give our best,” the former Bafana Bafana mentor was quoted by the PSL website.

“It is a bit tricky because, yes we scored a goal away from home, but personally we didn't get what we wanted because we didn't want to lose. A 2-1 defeat for me is not a good result because we lost the match.

“We have to fight at home. The challenge is we must make sure we don't open up and get hit on the counter-attack. You have to try and keep a clean-sheet at home, and you have to score but that is not a guarantee. That is why I'm not happy with the result.”

His Zesco counterpart, George Lwandamina, believes trying to get a result in Tshwane will be tough, but the prospect of a Champions League final is one his team will fight to the death for.

"Look, we know we still have to do the job in Pretoria, this is a tough competition," Lwandamina explained.

"I know they scored an away goal and that doesn't mean they must celebrate, that also applies to us.

"We know teams who visited them failed to score in Pretoria like Zamalek. Yes Sundowns are a good team but that can change.

"There is nothing special in scoring an away goal, however, we know the job is not done.”

The aggregate winners will progress into the final and face either Zamalek or Wydad Casablanca over two legs on 14-16 and 21-23 October. Algerian referee Mehdi Abid Charif will handle the match in Tshwane on Saturday.

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