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I don't think Ahly are good at defending deep - Mngqithi pinpoints weakness

Mohamed Sherif of Al Ahly challenged by Mosa Lebusa of Mamelodi Sundowns

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi says Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly have a big issue in how they approach the second leg of their Caf Champions League quarter-final clash as they won’t last playing at that high intensity at altitude and aren’t good at sitting deep.

The former Sundowns boss guided the Egyptians to 2-0 win over Downs in the first leg this past weekend and now Mosimane’s side carry that advantage ahead of their trip to Tshwane on Saturday.

Despite Ahly holding the advantage, Mngqithi was positive that his side are not out of the game as Ahly will need to change their gameplan and that could just suit the Brazilians.

'The bigger issue is how they approach the game in Pretoria because they would never last long if they played with the same intensity as they played here. They will be forced to play a counter-attacking game,’ the Downs coach told media.

‘And I don’t think they are very good defending in and around the box when they are playing too deep in their half, which is what I think made us have a better second half because they did not press us from the top. They retreated and that gave us a bit more latitude to get into the half spaces and behind their midfielder as well as in between the lines. They are not a defensive team, they are normally a good offensive team. If they had to come at us in Pretoria I don’t see them lasting 90 minutes.’

Mngqithi acknowledged that it was a tough game in Cairo but believes his side played very well and were just unfortunate.

‘Like I expected, it was always going to be a difficult game. I believe we played very well, but very unfortunate not to score. I have never seen a team come to Egypt and dominate Al Ahly in possession,’ said Mngqithi.

‘And to see Ahly play counter-attacking football was also very interesting for me. But this was the first half, the second half is in Johannesburg [sic]. We started the game very well, kept it very well, played very good in half spaces, forced them to be on the backfoot – but unfortunately, we did not take the chances that we got. We hit the upright first and missed another header from a corner kick. The second half was also good, we should have benefited. But we did not create as many chances as we did in the first,’ he concluded.