Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena has paid glowing tribute to his players for their gallant fight to come off with a 0-0 draw against holders Wydad Athletic Club in their TotalEnergies CAF Champions League semi-final clash in Casablanca, despite playing half of the game with 10 men.
Sundowns finished the game with nine men after Neo Maema and substitute Marcelo Allende were sent off.
“I am proud of these players for their gallant performance in very difficult circumstances. They showed incredible work rate and tactical discipline as well as adaptation to a tough situation. They need a lot of appreciation these players because they were fantastic,” Mokwena noted.
He added; “Before the red card we were really good and we had moments in the game where we had 65pc possession and we were excellent. But after the red card you definitely have to adapt as a team. Under the circumstances, the emotion is that this feels like a win.”
Heading to next weekend’s return tie in Pretoria, Mokwena has urged his players to keep their feet grounded and know the task remains tough.
“It is never over. This is the Champions League and we are still playing against a very good team with good players. It is only halftime. We have to keep our feet firmly on the ground and remain focused. We have a stadium that can push us in Pretoria and we trust in the players to continue the good work,” the youthful tactician stated.
Sundowns will progress to their first final since winning the Cup in 2016 with a win, but they will be out to avoid any scoring draw as it will take the Red Castle through to a second consecutive final.
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