The CAF Champions League group stages might fool you, according to Sundowns, Al Ahly head coach Pitso Mosimane, and the true campaign begins in the knockout stages.
On Saturday, Sundowns defeated Al Ahly 1-0 to seize leadership of Group A and move six points clear of the other three teams.
However, Mosimane claims that winning the group is not as crucial as qualifying, and warns that the knockout stages will be significantly more difficult in countries where fans have returned. According to IdiskiTime
“You got to understand that we have to go to the last two games and then we go to the knockouts,” Mosimane said after the match.
“All the time group stages will deceive you. You have experience of the group stages.
“Look for the last two, three years. You can win six out of six and stay number one. Let’s go to knockouts and semi-finals and now don’t go to Morocco because it’s open now, 50 000 [fans]. Go to Tunis, it’s 50 000, they’re open, it is a different game.
“Unfortunately in Egypt we don’t open that much. We would wish that we could open, it’s a different game.”
Sundowns, according to Mosimane, should be favourites to win the tournament after defeating Ahly at home and away, but the pressure is now on them.
“But Sundowns has an opportunity to win it now – since 2016, it’s been too long,” Mosimane continued.
“So they’ve invested a lot of money on players. And you can see even in the December transfers, they have really, really invested a lot of money, even more than us.
“And the pressure is on them, they have to win it now, I mean they can beat Al Ahly home and away, so [they] might as well as win it now.
“If they don’t win it, it is the Paris Saint-Germain story again.
“And then you can win the group and the group, you’re good, but the trophy, put it on the table, then we talk.
“Now it’s okay, it’s part of football we’re going through the stages.”