Sundowns have eyes on CAF Champions League Last 8 for now

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Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rhulani Mokwena says their mission is to reach the quarterfinals of this season’s CAF Champions League, regardless of whether they finish top of their group or not.

Sundowns will host Egyptian giants Al Ahly at the Loftus Stadium in Pretoria on Saturday afternoon.

The Brazilians are currently second in Group B, and Al Ahly are third.

Sundowns want to continue with their good home record against Africa’s club of the century.

The match is now one of the biggest CAF inter-club clashes on the African continent.

The two clubs have met nine times in the past. Each team has won three times, with three matches ending in draws. Sundowns’ biggest victory against Al Ahly was a 5-0 win in Pretoria in April 2019.

“Good game in prospect, I’m sure everyone is waiting in huge anticipation for it. Both Sundowns and Al Ahly have a lot to play for in the group and still three games to go and a lot of work still has to be done. So, one game at a time for us, and the next one is a very difficult one against a very good opponent,” says Mokwena.

Only the top two sides in each group qualify for the quarterfinals. Sudanese side Al Hilal top Group B with nine points after four matches. After three matches, Sundowns are second with seven points, and Al Ahly are third with four points.

A win for Sundowns will almost eliminate the Egyptian giants with just two matches remaining.

“We can’t control what happens to the other teams. We can focus on ourselves, and we can focus on our performance and giving ourselves the best opportunity to win the football match and of course, to move as close as possible to 10 points and we have to then to target qualification after that, whether first or second position and we have to work very hard,” Mokwena added.

Sundowns will do everything possible to use their home ground advantage.

“Nothing is going to be given to us on a silver platter, we’ve got to earn everything that we receive. And this is the mentality that we have and that’s the only way that is going to help us survive and continue the journey of the champions league,” Mokwena elaborates.

The two previous matches between the two sides in Pretoria ended in 1-all draw. The first match was played in March 2020, and the other match was at the same venue in May the following year.

“Every match we play is important and we want to make sure that we win the champions league. Obviously last season and the past four five seasons, we have been knocked out in semis, quarters. So, this time around we want to make sure that if we can go to the semifinals, so we want to win, we want to win the Champions League, obviously,” says Khuliso Mudau, Mamelodi Sundowns defender.

The two teams played to a 2-all draw in Cairo a fortnight ago. Sundowns had to come from a goal down to force a credible draw away to Al Ahly. The Egyptian side has already won a record ten CAF Champions League titles.

On the other hand, Sundowns are looking for their second title after being crowned African champions back in 2016.

VIDEO: Sundowns aiming to reach CAF Champions League quarter-finals