South African club Mamelodi Sundowns managed an excellent 2-0 victory at home in their second-leg semi-final clash with Zambia’s ZESCO United to secure a 3-2 aggregate win and a place in the CAF Champions League final.
The Brazilians, as the Pretoria club is affectionately known, lost 2-1 in the first leg, but the Premier Soccer League champions turned the tie around at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday with goals from Anthony Laffor and Percy Tau, to the delight of coach Pitso Mosimane.
The former Bafana coach hailed his side’s progress, having emerged from the off-season before securing semi-final and then final status in Africa’s premier club competition.
‘We came from nowhere and on holiday to the Cup final, we deserve it,’ Mosimane told the media after capturing a place in the final.
‘It’s very difficult for a team to beat Sundowns home and away, over two games, you have to be a super team to beat us two games in succession. The boys did very well,’ the experienced South African coach added.
Sundowns have thus secured a place in the CAF Champions League final for the first time in 15 years, where they will face Zamalek of Egypt over two-legs, scheduled for the weekends of 14-16 and 21-23 October.
Sundowns now have an excellent opportunity to become champions of Africa, with Orlando Pirates being the last South African team to do so in 1995, and no other club from the country able to replicate that achievement since.
Zamalek have done well to reach the final, but they are struggling badly in terms of squad depth due to a number of crucial injuries affecting the team. They will certainly put up a fight in Egypt but the South African leg of the final should see Mosimane’s side secure the cup that eluded them in the 2001 final against fellow Egyptians Al-Ahly.