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Downs will not rest on their laurels

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Everything seems to suggest the 2016 African champions are in for the equivalent of a stroll in the park today

Pitso Mosimane during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 football match between Supersport United and Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium, Pretoria on 02 December 2018 ©Picture: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

ANY TEAM carrying a 2-0 lead into a second leg match they are hosting would be forgiven for taking progression into the next round as a given.

And when that team have previously been champions in the competition in question and their opposition are upstarts in continental competition, they would surely be forgiven for resting their stars and giving the perennial bench warmers a run.

Mamelodi Sundowns, however, take the Caf Champions League so seriously that they are unlikely to treat today’s clash against Leones Vegitarianos at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria that way.

The Brazilians are at home to the Equatorial Guinea side whom they easily beat 2-0 away at the weekend.

Everything seems to suggest the 2016 African champions are in for the equivalent of a stroll in the park today.

But coach Pitso Mosimane has such reverence for the continent’s premier club knockout competition that you can bet he has done all the homework necessary to ensure his team’s success.

After the first leg, striker Jeremy Brockie revealed that they had not seen anything of Leones – a rarity given Mosimane’s obessession with knowing all there is to know about adversaries.

Copious notes

He would have taken copious notes from the first leg and shared all the necessary information with his team ahead of them walking on to the pitch.

Given the heartbreak of failing to get into the knockout stage of last year’s competition as defending champions, the competitive Mosimane will stop at nothing to ensure that things go swimmingly this time around as he seeks to add a second star on the yellow and royal blue shirt of Sundowns.

The recent 2-1 victory over SuperSport United in the PSL will definitely have raised the confidence levels at Chloorkop pretty high. But Jingles is unlikely to allow any sense of comfort to creep in ahead of today’s clash and would have made his team aware that the job is not done yet.

While all the rave was about young defender Rivaldo Coetzee who had a sterling maiden PSL match in Sundowns colours and should start today, it is Brockie who could be key.

The Kiwi striker was on the mark in the first leg and Mosimane, having long backed Brockie despite his taking forever to score, will back him to keep at it.

A mauling of Leones will go a long way towards sending
the next opponents remembering just how great a team Sundowns are.