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Rulani Reveals Which Real Madrid Lesson He Told His Players

Mamelodi Sundowns coach has revealed that he inspired his players with a lesson he learnt from Real Madrid ahead of their CAF Champions League quarter-final second leg against CR Belouizdad.

Sundowns came back with a rousing 4-1 win from their first-leg trip to Algeria and have one foot in the semi-finals after being knocked out at this stage for the last three campaigns.

However, Mokwena insisted that they must treat the second leg as if the first leg never took place, saying he learnt this lesson from European record champions Real Madrid, who beat Liverpool 5-2 away from home in the last 16, but also beat them 1-0 in the second leg earlier this year.

“I was telling them that normally on my days off I spend a lot more time on the team and trying to do a lot of work to check,” he said on Thursday.

“But yesterday I spent time on Real Madrid and trying to find out what really makes Real Madrid so, so good, especially in the [UEFA] Champions League.

“And there is two games that I watched – there’s a game against Liverpool when they went to Anfield and they won 5-2. I watched the game to see what schemes, what organisational forms they had.

“Then you check when they host Liverpool at the Santiago Bernabeu they play the game as if their lifes depend on it, as if they don’t have a heavy score that they can follow on and use as a cushion. And that was the biggest lesson.

“It is something we’ve delivered to the players this morning. We’ve addressed from a psychological perspective what we need to have. It will be a very difficult game.

“You don’t have to go back to far. Two seasons ago we played the very same football club in the group stages and we beat them, of course they had no home ground advantage, but they get to Pretoria and they beat us.

“And there is only two teams that have done that in the [CAF] Champions League and they’re one of the two. We have to know that they can beat us, we have to be at our best.”

Sundowns host CR Belouizdad at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday at 14:00, and the club has once again confirmed that fans can get free entry, if they arrive in Sundowns regalia.

David Kappel
David Kappel
David Kappel has served as a renowned international editor and content manager for almost a decade. David specialises in ensuring content and social media posts are highly engaging for football fans and was previously the international editor at Soccer Laduma. He is currently the iDiski Times website editor and social strategist.