Job not yet done, says Arendse
Sundowns take a 5-0 lead to Cairo but defender says they have to keep their wits about them when they take on the wounded Egyptians if they want to progress to semifinal
Mamelodi Sundowns defender Wayne Arendse has urged his teammates to remain vigilant against Al Ahly in the second leg of their crunch Caf Champions League‚ quarterfinal clash at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria on Saturday.
The Brazilians have travelled to North Africa with a 5-0 lead from the first leg in Pretoria last weekend but Arendse said the job is only half done‚ and a place in the semifinal has not been guaranteed despite their commanding advantage.
“The job is only half done‚ we have to finish it off in Egypt‚” said Arendse who scored the second goal in the win at Lucas Moripe Stadium as they stepped up their preparations for the match in Alexandria.
The experienced Arendse said to be able to progress to the next round of the competition Sundowns must stick to their processes‚ not be under any pressure from an expected hostile crowd of in the 86‚000-seater Borg El Arab‚ and score at least one goal.
“We should foolishly go [on an] all out attack in the second leg but the 5-0 scoreline does not mean we must go there to defend‚” he said.
“We should still play our normal game and play positive football. It’s going to be tough but very interesting because I feel we could have scored more goals at home had we buried all our chances.
“What’s more important‚ though‚ is the fact that we created these chances and I believe we can still create more in Egypt‚ because it’s still crucial for us to score at least one goal away.”
Arendse added that their 5-0 win in the first leg was due to the extensive work done by the technical team under the leadership of Pitso Mosmane as they watched eight games of Al Ahly prior to the match.
“When we saw that we drew Al Ahly in the quarterfinals‚ we all knew that it was going to be a tough game. We had to start right away and go through eight of their games and I feel the technical team really did a lot of work on the opposition and deserve all of the credit that’s coming their way.
“We took the game to them and that was the plan we worked on. During our preparations the technical team drummed it into our heads the importance of keeping a clean sheet and maintaining ball possession‚ especially playing the first match at home.”
At the same time Al Ahly president Mahmoud El-Khatib has demanded answers on what went wrong in the first leg‚ and that the team rise up in the second leg.
The respected Egyptian football website Kingfut.com reported: “El-Khatib demanded to know from coach Martin Lasarte the reasons behind the big defeat and the players’ poor performance on Saturday‚ adding that he will not accept any justifications or excuses.
“He also told the team that their only option is to rise up again and maintain Al Ahly’s ambitions to make it up for the fans‚ who felt the pain and grief following Saturday’s loss.”
Lasarte has already issued a number of apologies to the club and the fans for the thrashing in Atteridgeville‚ Al Ahly’s worst defeat since 1942.
He admitted a meeting with Ahly president El-Khatib. Uruguayan Lasarte played this down‚ saying the meeting was more of support and finding solutions to what has been viewed as a crisis at the Cairo club following their heaviest ever defeat in African club competition.
“I consider myself responsible for the result and the big defeat‚ and I seek from today to correct the situation as soon as possible‚ because that’s what Al Ahly deserves‚” Lasarte said.