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Focused on the future

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Sundowns coach disapointed with draw, but says there's still a long way to go

MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Amin Tighazoui of Wydad gets past Hlompho Kekana of Mamelodi Sundowns in their CAF Champions League match on Saturday. Picture: BackpagePix

THE ANGER that Pitso Mosimane was carrying, coming into the post-match press conference, after Mamelodi Sundowns dropped two points against the African champions Wydad Casablanca, died down once he started talking about the future.

The Brazilians failed to make the most of their home advantage and were held to a 1-1 draw by Wydad at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday in the Caf Champions League.

The Moroccan giants were happy to leave the country with a point, which sees them sit in second place behind Horoya who lead Group C with three points while Sundowns sit in third place and AS Togo-Port are at the bottom after the first round.

“It’s a long way, five games to go,” Mosimane said.

“The Horoya match (against AS Togo-Port) was on the edge. Horoya scored the winning goal on the 96th minute. It would have been better if everyone drew and we were all sitting on a point. But Horoya has three points.

“Wydad are a big team and in Casablanca you know the story. It’ll be a sea of red on the stands. We need to try and win our home games. But now (since we didn’t win against Wydad), we have to win away too.

“We need to win at least one of the three away games and collect maximum points on the two remaining games here at home. If we can also get one draw away, we will be fine. I think that 10 points will get us to the quarterifinals.”

Mosimane refuses to see their draw with Wydad as a point gained – against the reigning African champions who have lost only once in their last 16 matches.

Instead he slammed his team for failing to seize the moment and win at home.

Pressure and stress

“The reason why I wanted us to win this match was because I knew that if we won, after this match they have three games in 10 days. And then they also have to play their second match in the Champions League during that time,” Mosimane said.

“If we won, we would have put pressure and stress on them. They would have gotten yellow cards and injuries.

“You stress them and make them choose what their immediate priority is because they are sitting in fifth place.

“They might not be part of the Champions League next season. But they have a team capable of playing in the Champions League.”

Mosimane continued, “I told you that not many teams will manage playing in the Champions League and be number one or two in their league.

“Sundowns, Esperance and Al-Ahly are the only teams that are managing that. I knew that if we won, we would have put more pressure on them to win the next match and they have back-to-back games of trying to qualify for the Champions League.

“It would have stressed them. That’s why I am so frustrated. I knew what I wanted. It wasn’t only about winning this game but it was also planning for the future. I know what’s going to come. They have a tough schedule before the end of the season.

“Fortunately for us we wrapped up the league with a game to spare.”

Sundowns will lift the Absa Premiership trophy on Saturday after their match against Bloemfontein Celtic.

That match will be followed by an international friendly with Barcelona at FNB Stadium on Wednesday next week and then they depart to Conakry to take on Horoya on May 22 in the Champions League.