Mamelodi Sundowns may have done more than what’s expected from them at home in the Caf Champions League quarterfinals against Al Ahly, but coach Pitso Mosimane has sought to manage expectations ahead of the crucial second leg in Egypt.
The 2016 champions will go into the crucial clash with a five-goal advantage, having put together a near-perfect display in Atteridgeville on Saturday – thumping the African giants 5-0 in front of a sea of yellow-clad supporters.
This was the continent’s team of the century’s heaviest defeat in 77 years, and has made Sundowns path into the last four all the more eeasier, but their man on the helm believes there is some work to be done still.
Mosimane – who is closing in on a decade in charge of the eight-time PSL champions – sang his counterpart, Martin Lasarte’s praises, as the Uruguayan tactician finds his feet at Al Ahly, having mentored teams in countries such as Spain and Chile ahead of his move to Egypt.
“We do not want to talk a lot. We have to show respect. This is a big coach with a big CV,” Mosimane said of the former Real Sociedad coach.
Pitso Mosimane, Mamelodi Sundowns coach
“If he puts his CV here and I put mine, I will have to hide mine under a table. I know that losing 5-0 is hard. Let’s show humility and respect.”
Asked to explain how the largely unexpected result came about, Mosimane put it down to homework on his opponents.
“We watched eight games of Al Ahly.
“We got the patterns, how they play. We did our homework. It wasn’t luck. We worked for it. We knew all their danger areas, all their danger men.”
The results was Sundowns’ first win over Al Ahly in four attempts, having met over two legs in the 2001 Caf Champions League final and again in the preliminary rounds six years later.
Lasseter, who replaced ex-Kaizer Chiefs target at the helm of the eight-time African champions could only offer an apology to fans back home.
“I would like to send a message to the Al Ahly fans who attended the game in South Africa, as well as the ones who watched the game on TV. We are sorry.
“We are embarrassed and apologise to you. There is nothing else to be said. We will talk less and work more from now on,
Martin Lasarte, Al Ahly coach
The two sides meet once more in Suez next Saturday to complete their tie, as Al Ahly look to overturn a five-goal deficit.