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Can Downs get the goals?

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Sundowns need three unanswered goals to beat Al Ahly and two to take the match to extra time. Can they get those goals?

PITSO Mosimane was his usual bullish self after Mamelodi Sundowns were shaken off their axis in the Caf Champions League. He spoke with confidence, said the right things but also half-heartedly admitted that his team could be in for a tough mission in their quest to overturn the 2-0 defeat they suffered at the hands of Al Ahly over the weekend.

The Red Devils are in the driving seat in their quarter-final tie. Their 2-0 win over Sundowns will see them come to Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday confident that they will progress to the semi-finals.

Sundowns need three unanswered goals to beat Al Ahly and two to take the match to extra time. Can they get those goals?

“If you asked the Al Ahly coach (Rene Weiler), does he think that they can score two goals at home of course he is going to say yes. Am I right? It’s normal. Because if he says he isn’t going to score two goals here, the Al Ahly people wouldn’t be happy with him,” Mosimane said.

“It is the same with me. If I say that we can’t score two goals, I will lose my job. So, I need to keep my job. I am going to say that we can score. Last year, when we needed one goal against Wydad (Casablanca) we didn’t get it. Sometimes, we score three. Sometimes we can get more.

“We can score two, and Al Ahly can score one there. I don’t know.”

Sundowns will likely find the back of the net in Atteridgeville. They have been deadly at home, winning all their home games including tough assignments against Wydad and USM Alger. Stopping Al Ahly is a different proposition. Al Ahly outplayed Sundowns in the first leg by pinning them back with their full-backs who pushed forward.

The absence of Thapelo Morena and Tebogo Langerman hurt Sundowns as they didn’t have speedy full-backs of their own to push Al Ahly back and trouble them on the counter-attack. Mosimane replaced Morena and Langerman with Motjeka Modisha and Mosa Lebusa, solid defenders who don’t offer that much going forward.

Sundowns have to take the initiative. They are chasing the game, are playing at home and will need to score first. Al Ahly will do everything they can to slow the game down and hit Sundowns on the counter. Because Sundowns will be attacking they will be vulnerable at the back which requires an intricate balancing act.

Keeping a clean sheet will be tough for Sundowns who have always believed in outscoring their opponents. But how many goals they concede, or don’t, could be the difference between them crashing out of the quarter-finals or reaching the semis for a second successive season.

Prediction: Sundowns 2-1 Al Ahly