Sundowns look to crack Casablanca victory code

Sundowns look to crack Casablanca victory code
The man responsible for Mamelodi Sundowns’ only goal against Wydad Casablanca in Morocco wants the Brazilians to return with more than a goal this time around.

Wydad hosts Sundowns tonight at 9pm at Stade Mohammed V in their second match of the CAF Champions League’s group stage. In their four previous trips to Morocco, Sundowns lost all those games against the team that has troubled them in the Champions League.

Wydad denied them passage to the final last season and also derailed their Champions League defence in 2017 by eliminating the Tshwane giants in the quarter-finals.

But there is a strong belief in the Sundowns camp that they will finally beat Wydad in their own backyard.

“We have faced Wydad in this competition many times,” Ngcongca said from Casablanca. “When they are playing in their own backyard, they are a stubborn team with the help of the 12th man, their supporters. As a football player, these are the games that you look forward to playing because the stadium is packed and the atmosphere is marvellous. It’s great to play in front of so many supporters.

"Wydad is a good team, we respect them but at the end of the day we have a job ahead of us. Hopefully this time we will get the win because we have been struggling here.

"They’ve got some new players, and when we analysed their game we saw that they now play a different brand of football. They are more direct now, unlike when they used to start build-up play from the back. All the guys are looking forward to facing them and everyone in the club is looking forward to breaking that ice now because it has been long.”

Games between these two teams are normally tight affairs with not much separating them. The scorelines have reflected that, with teams winning by just a one-goal margin. The same is likely to happen tonight as both teams are trying to solidify their position in Group C. Sundowns sit at the top with three points while Wydad and USM Alger of Algeria have a point. Angola’s Petro de Luanda are at the bottom after they were thumped 3-0 by Sundowns.

Brazilians coach Pitso Mosimane said that Sundowns and Wydad are likely to be the two teams that will advance to the knockout stage from the group, which means clashes between these two teams could decide who tops Group C.

“This game here is not a game of many chances, even when we play them in Pretoria,” Mosimane said.

“The thing is you must take opportunities. It is a game of small margins. When you have a chance, you really have to take it because it could be the only one. But in football you will always miss chances, clear chances.

"I hope we don’t miss those clear cut chances and perhaps even score a goal like we did the last time we were here which was a corner kick scored by Anele. It wasn’t really a chance. If we can get something like that, we will be happy.”

Bonginkosi Ndadane