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Mokwena – What We’re Learning From Al Ahly

Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena has cited something they’ve learnt from Al Ahly as they entered the CAF Champions League last-four for a consecutive season.

Sundowns secured a 3-2 victory on penalties against Young Africans after a 0-0 scoreline in the quarter-final over the two legs.

In was a match hotly debated over Stephane Aziz Ki’s effort, which on the television angle appeared to have crossed the line, and which Yanga has since lodged a protest against.

“[The Champions League] is tough, these games are very, very difficult, this competition starts in the knockouts and now two seasons in a row now in the semi-finals is important, and let’s see [what happens],” he said about the narrow victory.

“We’ve been knocked out several times in the quarter-finals, so let’s cherish this moment. Even in games where we thought we’d come through, we’ve been pulled back a couple of times in the history of this club.

“So we’re entitled to absolutely nothing, I hear a lot of people saying Sundowns are favourites, you have to have won the competition a couple of times to be favourites, you don’t get the tag because you’re playing well and everyone thinks they’ll win.

“You have to earn it and know how to win, you saw Al Ahly last week against Simba, only one chance, then nothing… one chance [and they win] which they do a season in, season out, they know how to navigate their way through this competition and that’s what we’re learning to do, to roll with the punches.

“And then continue to roll on because teams in the Champions League, especially in the knockouts, they give as much as they receive and that becomes very difficult, but as I said let’s focus on having the feeling of a very good week, and an important week for the club.”

Sundowns will now turn their attention to four-time African champions Esperance with the winner advancing to the final and the FIFA Club World Cup.

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.