Mamelodi Sundowns’ coach Pitso Mosimane will take “tigers” to Morocco with the aim of at least returning with a point against Wydad Casablanca on Friday.
The Brazilians leave for Casablanca on Monday morning having secured a spot in the semifinals of the MTN8 after beating Golden Arrows 2-0 on Saturday at Lucas Moripe Stadium. Sundowns will fly to Morocco via Ghana. They will arrive in Casablanca on Tuesday morning.
Three days later they take on the reigning African champions Wydad in their second last match of the group stage of the Caf Champions League. Wydad top Group C with eight points while Sundowns sit in second place with five points. Horoya of Guinea also has five points in third place while AS Togo-Port are rooted at the bottom with three points.
“I don’t think that Wydad will give you an opportunity for an all-out attack,” Mosimane said. “They are a big team, they are a strong team. You will see a sea of red in the stands. You know the story. They will push us back. We need to be compact. We need to be smart. We can get a few breaks. You don’t get many opportunities there. But Sundowns always gets one or two chances to score. We need to manage that. If we don’t win, get a draw. But we mustn’t sit back and park the bus, we must play because they know that we can play. They saw it here that we pushed them.
“They respect us. I need to get the right balance in midfield for that match. I need tigers for that match, people who will grind to get a result. It might not look pretty but we must keep going and probing. If you get three points, then you’ll be happy. One might also be enough because we have to sort out Horoya here in our last game. That game is a do-or-die. We must beat Horoya here or otherwise in means we must win in Casablanca. The Togolese might do us a favour by causing an upset and holding Horoya to a draw because I don’t think they’ll win. It’s tough in Guinea.”
Sundowns’ last trip to Casablanca ended in disappointment last year in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. The Moroccan giants defeated Sundowns in penalties and then went all the way to win the Champions League. Dennis Onyango, who was in goal in that loss, should be back from the concussion that kept him out of the match against Abafana Bes’thende.
“Wydad are a difficult team,” Mosimane said. “They know how to manage the game. They play cleverly. You must be careful of penalties. They are very good in set-pieces. We conceded a goal from a corner kick the last time we played them. When the time favours them they delay the game. They do anything. You know the North Africans. The Champions League is a different cattle of fish. It’s an awkward tournament. But we know how to play it. It has its problems with travelling.”