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Mokwena – Yanga Game Brought Flashes Of Petro

  • April 6, 2024
  • 3 min read
Mokwena – Yanga Game Brought Flashes Of Petro

As the spaces were minute and the game was the winner-takes-all affair, Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena admitted their clash against Young Africans brought flashes of Petro de Luanda who dumped them in the quarter finals two seasons ago.  

Sundowns reached the CAF Champions League semifinal after overcoming Tanzanian side Young Africans via penalties at Loftus Stadium on Friday. 

The South African giants, as expected, hogged possession but the spaces to penetrate were very small, leading them to be frustrated and coach Mokwena taking off Themba Zwane and Thembinkosi Lorch.  

The two former PSL Footballer of the Year were tasked to break through Yanga’s defense lying block, but they didn’t find joy which led to the game heading to penalties. 

Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, just like he did during the Africa Cup of Nations finals where Bafana claimed the bronze medal, was the star yet again, saving two spots to see Downs win 3-2.    

“Difficult to play these types of games, difficult because it is the Champions League and lots of people forget how awkward these games are,” Mokwena said after the game.  

“Two or three players already said to me this game reminded them of the Petro game, and if you remember three or four seasons ago when we had the second leg here (FNB Stadium) against Petro, we struggled a little bit and we were knocked out (3-2 on aggregate in 2021/22 season).  

“But it is good today because we have shown as a team that we have grown. For sure if we had scored even one goal or two nil or whatever the scoreline would have been, I would still have said we could play better. But all that matters now is we are in the semifinal and that’s all that matters.”  

Sundowns rode their luck a bit in the second half as a cracking strike by Stephane Aziz Ki cannon off the crossbar, which would have gone either way but it wasn’t conclusive for VAR to give it a goal.  

Aziz Ki continued to be a pain in the bum for Sundowns, sending another delightful cross, but Clement Mzize failed to apply the finish in front of Ronwen Williams’ post.     

“To be honest, I’m not interested in analyzing the game now,” added Mokwena.  

“I think we have got to congratulate the players on the magnificent resolute character in what was a very difficult week. It was a tough week this week and to get two good results against two difficult opponents at home is just testimony to our hard work -the commitment, the perseverance of this group – very, very proud of them.”  

Sundowns, in the semifinal, will now meet a winner between Esperance of Tunisia against Asec Mimosas of Ivory Coast who are playing on Saturday. If ES Tunis fails to win, with the game locked into a goalless draw in the first leg of the quarters, Sundowns will qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup next year. 

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Robin-Duke Madlala

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