Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Manqoba Mngqithi. Picture: VELI NHLAPO
Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Manqoba Mngqithi. Picture: VELI NHLAPO

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi believes  his charges still have a chance to bounce back against Egyptian side Al Ahly after losing the first leg of their Caf Champions League quarterfinal 2-0 at the Al Salam Stadium in Egypt on Saturday.

Goals in either half by Mohamed Taher (24th minute) and Salah Mohsen (89th minute) saw Mngqithi’s team losing by the same scoreline Ahly beat them with at the same stage of the competition in 2020. Pitso Mosimane‚ now Ahly’s coach‚ was head coach of Sundowns at the time and worked with Mngqithi as one of his assistants alongside Rhulani Mokwena‚ now a co-coach at the Brazilians.

“Like I expected‚ it was always going to be a tactical game and I believe we played very well and we were very unfortunate not to score‚” Mngqithi said of the game where Sundowns dominated possession and had chances.

“I’ve never seen a team come to Egypt and dominate Al Ahly in possession. And to see Al Ahly playing a counterattacking game at home was very interesting for me.”

The Sundowns coach‚ however‚ believes the return leg will be a different game altogether and he promised that Mosimane’s team may well get a good hiding from the Brazilians if they don’t up their game.

“But this one [Saturday’s game] is a first half‚ the second one is in Pretoria‚” Mngqithi told the Egyptian media.

“We started the game very well‚ kept the ball well‚ played very good in half spaces and forced them on to the back foot‚ but unfortunately we didn’t take our chances.

“We hit the upright first and also missed another header after a corner kick. I think we had a very good second half‚ but surprisingly we didn’t create as many chances as we did in the first half.

“[Mohamed] El-Shenawy [Ahly goalkeeper] also saved them from a very good corner kick which we could have easily converted. If we had scored that goal it would have really opened the game up.”

Mngqithi cautioned against taking the Red Devils lightly‚ saying Mosimane has a very good squad.

“I still have respect for Al Ahly and I think they’ve got a lot of young and intelligent players‚” he said. “[Mohamed] Sherif is  instrumental on top [of the attack] and Afsha I think also showed a lot of quality in the half spaces. And Mohamed [Taher] was very clinical in his finish. That was a well-taken goal in the first half.

“But I still believe we were a better team football wise‚ but we lost the match.”

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