Sundowns seek to overcome complacency and seal the deal at Loftus

By Michael Madyira

Mamelodi Sundowns will be out to avoid what would be their greatest collapse ever when they host CR Belouizdad in Saturday’s Caf Champions League quarter-final, second-leg match at Loftus Versfeld.

Enjoying what looks like a healthy 4-1 lead from last week’s away leg in Algeria, the Brazilians face a side that beat them at home two years ago.

Belouizdad and Esperance are the only teams to have recorded victory against Sundowns in Pretoria in the Champions League.

Coach Rhulani Mokwena is refusing to view his side as having one foot in the semi-finals and is wary of a possible disaster happening in Tshwane.

“It will be a very difficult game,” Mokwena told the media.

“You don’t even have to go very far to understand that because two years ago we played against the very said football club.

“We played in the group stages and we beat them but they came to Pretoria and they beat us. They are one of the only two teams to beat us in the Champions League at home.

“We know they can beat us and we have to be at our best. We have to know the quality they have. You can name five or six of their players who play top international games for Algeria.”

The quarter-final stage has proved to be a difficult hurdle for Masandawana to pass through in recent seasons, but this time around, they appear primed to reach the last-four.

While Mokwena is guarding against complacency in his camp, former Sundowns captain Hlompho Kekana believes a semi-final berth is already a done deal.

“I don’t think Belouizdad will touch Sundowns at Loftus,” said Kekana on the Sundowns Pitchside Podcast.

“If Sundowns can bring the game they played in Algeria and just place in on the Loftus centre-line, Belouizdad will not touch them.”

Belouizdad have a Herculean task in Pretoria, needing to win by a four-goal margin to overturn their home-leg deficit. 

Pictured above: Peter Shalulile and Themba Zwane celebrating

Image source: Mamelodi Sundowns 

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