Sundowns coach Mngqithi confident of bouncing back against Al Ahly in Tshwane
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi believes that his charges still have a chance to bounce back against Egyptian giants Al Ahly after losing the first leg of their Caf Champions League quarterfinal 2-0 at the Al Salam Stadium in Egypt on Saturday.
The Brazilians dominated the match and had possession and chances‚ but they failed to score in both halves.
Goals in either half by Mohamed Taher (24th minute) and Salah Mohsen (89th minute) saw Mngqithi’s team losing by the same scoreline that Ahly beat them at the same stage of the competition last year. Pitso Mosimane‚ now Ahly’s coach‚ was head coach of Sundowns at the time and worked with Mngqithi as one of his assistants alongside Rulani Mokwena‚ now co-head 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 summed up the outcome of the game on Saturday.
“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 ball 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 after the match.
“We started the game very well‚ kept the ball well‚ played very good in half spaces and forced them to be on their back foot‚ but unfortunately we got chances we [ended up] not taking.
“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 when we played even better in the second half we didn’t create as many chances as we did in the first half.
“(Mohamed) El-Shenawy (Ahly keeper) 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 a little bit.”
Mngqithi cautioned against taking the Red Devils lightly‚ saying Mosimane has a very good team of players
“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 very instrumental on top (of the attack) and Afsha I think also showed a lot quality in the half spaces. And I think Mohamed (Taher) was very clinical in his finish. I think 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.”