Monday May 17, 2021. 08:35
Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi has expressed confidence in his side’s ability to turn around their CAF Champions League quarterfinal tie against Al Ahly.
The Brazilians will host the return game in Tshwane this coming Saturday, 22 May, having been beaten 2-0 in the first game in Cairo this past weekend.
A superb first-half strike from Taher Mohamed and a late second goal from Salah Mohsen saw Pitso Mosimane’s Red Devils, the current Champions League title holders, take firm control of the tie.
However, Mngqithi took confidence from Sundowns’ showing at the Al Salam Stadium and believes a comeback is not unrealistic.
“Like I expected‚ it was always going to be a tactical game and I believe we played very well and we were very unfortunate not to score‚” Mngqithi said, as quoted by Times Live.
“I’ve never seen a team come to Egypt and dominate Al Ahly in possession. And to see Al Ahly playing a counterattacking game at home was very interesting for me.”
He added, “But this one is a first half‚ the second one is in Pretoria. We started the game very well‚ kept the ball well‚ played very good in half spaces and forced them to be on their back foot‚ but unfortunately we got chances we [ended up] not taking.
“We hit the upright first and also missed another header after a corner kick.
“I think we had a very good second half‚ but surprisingly when we played even better in the second half we didn’t create as many chances as we did in the first half.
“(Mohamed) El-Shenawy (Al Ahly’ goalkeeper) also saved them from a very good corner kick which we could have easily converted. If we had scored that goal it would have really opened the game up a little bit.”
Mngqithi continued that he retains full respect for Ahly and coach Mosimane, but insists that ‘Downs deserved more from the first leg.
“I still have respect for Al Ahly and I think they’ve got a lot of young and intelligent players‚” he explained.
“(Mohamed) Sherif is very instrumental on top (of the attack) and Afsha I think also showed a lot of quality in the half spaces. And I think Mohamed (Taher) was very clinical in his finish. I think that was a well-taken goal in the first half.
“But I still believe we were a better team football-wise‚ but we lost the match.”