Home Sport Football will take on Football as Sundowns and Wydad bid for AFL...

Football will take on Football as Sundowns and Wydad bid for AFL glory

335

Despite the advantage of an away goal, Rulani Mokwena will have to decide on a game plan that will see the team opt for an all-out attack or their usual passing game and patiently carve the Wydad defence open.

Abdelmounaim Boutouil of Mamelodi Sundowns challenges Hicham Boussefiane of Wydad during the 2023 African Football League final at the Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca, Morocco on 5 November 2023. Picture: Nour Aknajja, BackpagePix

WYDAD AC coach Adil Ramzi says it will be “football against football” today when his side play Mamelodi Sundowns in the African Football League final second leg at Loftus Versfeld (3pm kick-off).

The visiting Moroccans go into the fixture with a 2-1 lead after their first-leg win in Casablanca last week. Ramzi said Wydad would not sit on their lead with a defensive approach. They would continue with their impressive style of play that was in evidence in Casablanca last weekend.

“For the first time, I feel that football is playing against football,” said Ramzi, complimenting the appealing playing styles of the teams.

“I like to play football, and the Sundowns coach (Rulani Mokwena) is the same. I have a lot of respect for him.

“This is a significant game, and everyone wants to win it. We won in Casablanca, but it is still 50-50. We are facing a strong team, but we are ready. For me, this is the chance for a first major title as a coach, and we share the same dream with everyone to win it. I trust the group (Wydad squad) as a whole and, God willing, we will win the title.”

Despite the advantage of an away goal, Mokwena will have to decide on a game plan that will see the team opt for an all-out attack or their usual passing game and patiently carve the Wydad defence open.

Mokwena said he was mindful of the expectations and the pressure on Sundowns and himself, but his target was to play constructive football.

“Sometimes there is this feeling that I get that when we play well and we don’t win, people are very quick to forget the result and focus on the performance,” said Mokwena.

“When we win but we don’t play well, people are very quick to forget the result and focus on the performance, and that’s the pressure at Mamelodi Sundowns.”

The Brazilians have won just one of their last six encounters against Wydad (D4 L1), scoring four goals and conceding twice in each of the last two games.

Having won the first leg 2-1, Casablanca is looking to win consecutive matches against Sundowns for the first time since April 2019.

Sundowns have never lost a home match against Wydad, alternating between a win and a draw in their six such games against the Moroccan side.

Sundowns are unbeaten in their last 24 home matches in all competitions (W20 D4), keeping clean sheets in five of their last seven such games.

Wydad arrived on Thursday and were happy with their preparations.

“Our journey went smoothly. We arrived on time. While we are used to arriving two days before each match, we preferred an extra day to adapt and prepare as best we could,” said Ramzi.

“Everyone is fully aware of the responsibility we bear. We have a clear chance of making history.”

Previous articleProteas always intended to chase against Afghanistan
Next articleAmazulu and Arrows will battle each other and their emotions in KZN Derby