Mamelodi Sundowns thrashed La Passe of Seychelles 7-0 in the first leg
They just need to avoid defeat to progress
They won the title in 2016
Despite carrying a healthy 7-0 lead from the first leg of their CAF Champions League second preliminary round against Syechelles side La Passe, South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns are not taking a casual approach to the return fixture scheduled for this weekend.
Sundowns’ thrashing of the Seychelles champions last weekend equaled the record margin for an away win in the Champions League, in the 2020 edition Zamalek of Egypt set the benchmark when they defeated Dekedaha of Somalia 7-0 in an away fixture.
La Passe chose to host the first leg match in which they were at home in Pretoria, due to the absence of a standardized stadium back home.
And, with a healthy scoreline, Sundowns are all but done and dusted and have one and a half feet into the group stages of the competition. But despite the comfort of a 7-0 lead, Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi says they will not relax in the return leg.
Always try to better benchmark
“The biggest assignment we have as Sundowns is to always try better our benchmark and whoever is given an opportunity for this match also has the responsibility to live up to our expectation as the technical team,” says Mngqithi, in an interview with CAF Online.
“Everything that happens in the match we get to see how much box entries, dribbles, what distance did you cover. We are looking at those things because each and every individual must show that he deserves an opportunity into the next match but more so because we have big assignments after these two matches. So if we drop our intensity we might find it difficult to rise back again. It is always important for us to always put the foot on the paddle,” he says.
Sundowns had a perfect outing in last season’s tournament, sailing to the groyp stages where they were unbeaten, but all that ended in defeat at the quarter finals stage. This season, they look to go better.
Burundi’s Flambeau hope to shine in Alexandria
In other fixtures, Burundi’s Flambeau du Centre will look to overturn a 1-0 deficit against Egyptian side Zamalek when they face off in Alexandria. Just like La Passe, Flambeau decided to host their home match in Alexandria, as a cost cutting measure.
They were the home team in the first leg and in the return fixture, they will be the away team.
In Cairo, record champions Al Ahly will take on US Monastir, hoping to firm up a 1-0 lead from the first leg. Ahly have not been as consistent since losing their title to Wydad last year, but in the minimum, hope to vie for a group stage slot.
Raja Club Athletic will be up against Nigeria’s Nigelec in the other interesting tie of this final knockout round, whose winners will earn a place in the group stages of the competition.
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