Preview: Mosimane's future finally settled as Ahly take on Sundowns

Ahram Online , Friday 11 Mar 2022

With Pitso Mosimane's future finally settled and Ahly marching on confidently in the Egyptian Premier League, it's time for the Red Devils to ease any African Champions League concerns as they face Mamelodi Sundowns in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Pitso Mosimane
Ahly s coach Pitso Mosimane greets the fans after the win in the FIFA Club World Cup 3rd place football match between Egypt s Al-Ahly vs Brazil s Palmeiras at the Education City Stadium in the Qatari city of Ar-Rayyan on February 11, 2021 (File photo: AFP)

Mosimane's achievements in less than two years at the helm were finally rewarded as Ahly granted him a two-year contract extension, which the South African boss has long sought to remain fully focused on the tasks ahead of him.

Since Ahly slumped to a surprise 1-0 loss at home to Sundowns last month, they have chalked off three consecutive wins -- two in the domestic league and one in the Champions League.

They secured comprehensive 4-1 and 3-0 wins over Pharco and challengers Pyramids FC in the domestic league respectively to move two points clear on top of the table and with a game in hand.

They also survived a spirited comeback from Sudan's Al-Merreikh to secure a late and vital 3-2 victory which helped them get their Champions League campaign back on track following a disappointing opening to their Group A campaign.

Ahly, who are looking to become the first team to win a hat-trick of consecutive Champions League crowns, now have four points, on level with Sudanese duo Al-Hilal and Al-Merreikh, who have both played a game more. Sundowns are on top with seven points.

A win for Ahly on the road would put them in pole position to qualify for the knockout phase.

"When you coach teams like Sundowns and Al Ahly, you are expected to win all the time. That's our lives as coaches. It's normal and we have to understand that," Mosimane told the pre-match news conference.

"The pressure is big, we have pressure. We won the Champions League back to back and we are expected to win it this year as well. We also believe that we can win it."

Sundowns will virtually secure their place in the last eight if they claim all three points, but coach Manqoba Mngqithi has cautioned against the threat Ahly are likely to pose.

"It's a game of consequence because both Ahly and ourselves are looking for a result that can maybe get us into the quarterfinals or stamp the position in the group stages," he said.

"Also considering that they lost their first match against us on their home ground, obviously they will come for vengeance hoping to try and upset us in that space."

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