Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane during the Mamelodi Sundowns press conference at PSL Headquarters on February 6 2020 in Johannesburg. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/ LEFTY SHIVAMBU
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane during the Mamelodi Sundowns press conference at PSL Headquarters on February 6 2020 in Johannesburg. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/ LEFTY SHIVAMBU

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane says Al Ahly did not respect his side in the 2019 Caf Champions League quarterfinals‚ but things will be different in this campaign after the Brazilians handed them a 5-1 aggregate thrashing.

Sundowns and Ahly were paired in the quarterfinals of the elite club competition for the second year running‚ and Mosimane believes the eight-time winners will be better prepared to face his side this time round.

“They are the same teams‚ but different games‚ different years and a different mentality and mood‚” Mosimane said.

“I believe Al Ahly did not know us and did not respect us [in 2019]. But after we knocked them out‚ the motivation will be different and they will be more prepared.

“It will be more difficult for us because they now know us‚ but they will also be under pressure because they are always favourites and there will be pressure to beat us.

“We will see how it goes but pressure is on Al Ahly and not us.”

Sundowns inflicted a 5-0 defeat on Ahly in Pretoria in 2019‚ still the heaviest defeat in the club’s Champions League history‚ and a result that sent shockwaves through the Cairo club‚ who will no doubt have revenge on their minds.

Should Sundowns advance they will face the winner of the quarterfinal between nemesis Wydad Casablanca and Etoile du Sahel from Tunisia.

Astonishingly‚ Sundowns have met Moroccans Wydad 10 times in less than three years in the Champions League‚ including in the group stages in 2020 where they took four points off the North Africans.

“It is an unbelievable draw‚” Mosimane said.

“It looks like whatever Sundowns do‚ we follow the same teams again. We have been getting WAC [Wydad Casablanca] all the time in our group. Now the same story with Al Ahly.”

Sundowns became the first SA side to advance through the group stages of Africa’s elite competition unbeaten‚ and also collected a club record 14 points in 2020.

Certainly their road to the May 29 final is difficult‚ but none of the three sides potentially in their path should strike fear into Mosimane’s men.