Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has called for ‘humility and respect’ after watching his team thrash Egypt’s Al Ahly 5-0 in a Caf Champions League quarterfinal first-leg match at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, on Saturday.
It was a stunning victory by Sundowns who were in total control against African football’s most successful club, having won a record eight Champion League titles over the years.
“We did our homework and it wasn’t luck. We worked for it and we knew all their danger areas, all their dangermen,” said Mosimane.
But Mosimane sought to play down the magnificent performance ahead of the second-leg in Suez this Saturday.
“We do not want to talk a lot and we have to show humility and respect. They have a big coach with a big CV,” Mosimane said of his counterpart, Uruguayan Martin Lasarte, whose future at Ahly is now under a dark cloud.
“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,” Mosimane added.
The South African coach said the victory had been achieved as he and his technical team had done their homework leading up to the game.
“We watched eight games of Al Ahly,” he explained. “The last two were against Pyramids and Zamalek.
“We got the patterns, how they play. We did our homework. It wasn’t luck. We worked for it.”
He added: “I am not a fool and will keep my feet on the ground and make sure that the team stays calm and hopefully we proceed to the semis,” he said.
“This 5-0 win is a rare result and we played proper football.
“They will be under pressure to score early but we are going to unleash speed on them with the likes of Phakamani Mahlambi and Lebohang Maboe hoping that we can score one goal from the break. We must make it difficult for them.”
“It is going to be tough but we must try to fight fire with fire. I hope we keep the integrity and protect this result and the work that we have done.
“We don’t have any guarantees. Bafana went there to play against Libya needing a point and they won. We should believe and trust in the way we play but we must double our efforts. If we lose that will do not be because they were good but because of our attitude and mentally.”
Meanwhile, Lasarte, a former La Liga coach with Real Sociedad who has been in the Ahly job just a handful of months, was contrite after the game.
“We certainly played a bad match and we need to work in hard before the second-leg,” he said at the post-match news conference.
“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,” he added.
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