South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns are through to the semi-finals of the African Football League (AFL) after playing to a barren draw against Angolan side Petro du Luanda at Loftus Versfeld on Tuesday night.
Sundowns won the first leg 2-0 away and will play Egyptian side Al-Ahly in Sunday’s first leg semi-final match.
The Egyptian side edged out Tanzanian side Simba after their return match ended 2-2 in Cairo. The first leg match had ended in a 2-2 draw.
The match got off to an unfortunate start for the ‘Brazillians’ who had defender Mothobi Mvala sent off in the second minute.
But that did not prevent Sundowns from going through as they held off attack after attack from their opponents to hung on to the end.
A disappointed Petro Atletico coach Alexandre Santos paid glowing tribute to their opponents after the match.
“They were clearly the best team in this quarter-final challenge. They scored two goals and didn’t score any. It shows the quality of the team we were up against,” said the coach.
He added:”It looked like it would be an easy game after they were reduced to ten men but it was not like that. They showed great mental strength and kept all spaces. They were not afraid to play and even at some point controlled certain points of the game.”
“In the last seven minutes, we asserted some pressure on them and knew that scoring a goal would disturb them . Unfortunately we are out and we did not proceed. Iam however proud of my players. They proved that they are a good team and we did our best.”
His Sundowns counterpart, Rhulani Mokwena admitted that they beat a strong side.
“It was always going to be a difficult game. This is a team that is well capable of building from the back with three impressive center-backs who are always aggressive with the ball.
“They have so much quality and we did well to eliminate them out. After the red card, it complicated my plans a bit but we showed character, stayed together and ensured we came out winners,” he added.