Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena has warned his players that their African Football League (AFL) quarter final tie against Angola’s Petro de Luanda is not over, despite leading 2-0 from the first leg played away from home on Saturday.
Masandawana only need to avoid defeat at home in Pretoria next week, or in the worst, a 1-0 defeat to make it into the last four.
But even with what looks like a comfortable lead, Mokwena is still wary of the fact the score-line can change in a flip.
“My message to the players is to remind them of a Cup game we played in South Africa last week. At halftime, we were down 2-0 but we came back in the second half and made it 2-2. We needed 45 minutes to score two. This (Petro game) is at halftime, and they have 90 minutes in Pretoria,” the coach said after the game in Luanda.
He added; “It is important for us to stay humble and focused. We have seen many things happening in football and teams coming back from even greater score-lines. We will approach the game as 0-0 and a different ballgame all together.”
The tactician has also heaped praise on his players for their response especially in the second half, and says they did very well to sustain the pressure from the hosts, who were pushed on by a good home ground advantage.
“We beat a very good side with very good organization. It was difficult to deal with the overloads they created and I give compliments to our players for the excellent shift they put in,” the coach said.
He also pointed out; “In the second half we had to make some changes after we struggled a bit in the first half and we adapted to the game. We switched from a tactical perspective and I have to take responsibility because I got some few things wrong. Lots of credit to the players for their performance in the second half.”
Sundowns, winners of the CAF Champions League in 2016, are looking to battle for their second Continental trophy, and the AFL will be a massive target for coach Rulani and his charges.