The reigning Absa Premiership champions host Zesco United in the return leg on Saturday at the Lucas Moripe Stadium, with the winner advancing to the final.
An early second half brace from Jackson Mwanza put the Zambians on the path to victory before Billiat grabbed the crucial consolatory strike four minutes from time.
The Brazilians are lucky to be just chasing a one-goal margin after being dominated by a spirited Zesco side.
This may possibly be a result of the cautious approach adopted by coach Pitso Mosimane who was wary of the danger posed by the only Zambian club to reach the last four of the premier continental club championships, qualifying from a group that included two former winners, Al Ahly of Egypt and Ivorian side ASEC Mimosas.
Sundowns, on the other hand, are not new to this stage, going beyond into the final in 2001, where the lost to Ahly 4-1 on aggregate.
With an away goal to their advantage, Sundowns may still have to dig deep against the Zambians who have proven to be worthy contenders of the competition while quietly carrying the underdogs title throughout their campaign.
A yardstick to test Sundowns’ readiness for the decisive Saturday duel saw the Brazilians pass with distinction after beating Chippa United 1-0 on Wednesday to reach the final of the MTN 8 Cup where they will face Bidvest Wits on October 1, a result which has given Mosimane an indication of which players to use against Zesco in his squad.
The clash may take a lot from his players and will require a careful balance of his squad while Zesco on the other hand had their last competitive match against Sundowns.
Mosimane however refuses to complain about the hectic schedule the club faces but opted to urge his troops to soldier on and make their supporters proud.
“We have made it to this stage of the competition while playing other competitive fixtures so to complain will not help in any way. Zesco will be well rested on Saturday but we cannot let that disturb our planning.
“We are a professional club and have to put up a good performance against all odds,” said Mosimane.
A more attack-minded approach will be the best option for Mosimane but the coach stressed the importance of keeping a close eye on the likes of Jesse Were and Jackson Mwanza who gave the Brazilians a torrid time in the reverse in Ndola.
A plus for Zesco United coach, George Lwandamina is the return from suspension of playmaker, Cletus Chama, who will also add to his firepower upfront.
“We have no choice but to go for an all out attack. It will be very difficult breaking them as they will naturally want to defend their lead but we will give it our best and be extra careful not to be caught on the counter,” added Mosimane