Sunday Apr 17, 2022. 13:33
Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena insists they will make it to the CAF Champions League semi-finals by bouncing back against Petro de Luanda in Johannesburg next weekend.
The Brazilians surrendered an early lead to go down 2-1 to the Tricolores in the first leg of their quarter-final tie at the Estadio 11 de Novembro on Saturday.
Lyle Lakay opened the scoring after just six minutes in Luanda, but the hosts hit back quickly through Tiago Azulao in the 16th minute before Yano completed the comeback win on the stroke of half-time.
Mokwena admits Masandawana weren’t good enough in the first half, but saw enough of an improvement after the break to suggest they can turn things around in the second leg at the FNB Stadium on April 23.
He believes valuable lessons will be learned from this defeat and is convinced that Downs will march on in Africa’s elite club competition.
“At Sundowns we play every match to win, we came here to try to win, disappointed in the display in the first half – lacking aggression, lacking intensity, but we showed that we are much better than our first-half performance in the second half,” Mokwena said in the post-match press conference.
“We created more goal-scoring opportunities, had more final-third opportunities, dominated the ball a little bit more, dominated the field a little bit more by pressing the line a little bit higher and trying to press from the top a little bit better.
“Unfortunately we lost today, but we lost the right match, a match that gives us many lessons. It reminds us that we are not invincible, but in a very humble way we accept the lesson and we move on.
“And now it’s to recover the team, bring the body back and get back to South Africa safe, watch the game over again, do the corrections and prepare for the second leg, but we will be in the semi-final.”