After playing out to a goalless draw in Kigali, Masandawana were forced to come out and play at home, and that’s exactly what they did as Wayne Arendse opened the scoring in the first half before Sibusiso Vilakazi took the game beyond the reach of the Rwandan champions as he tapped home Gaston Sirino’s original effort which came off the woodwork.
The result comes as a welcome confidence booster for a side who are still very much alive on two other fronts as they top the domestic league standings as well as also recently progressed into the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup.
Nonetheless, speaking after the game, the Brazilians mentor Pitso Mosimane hailed his team’s performance especially the fight which Sundowns showed in the first half considering the weather conditions which made playing football a whole lot more difficult.
“What was pleasing for me was in the first half on a bad, rain-soaked pitch the boys showed integrity and they fought,” Mosimane told SuperSport TV.
“Their mentality was different from other games that we have been playing lately. On a pitch like this they never complained, especially playing against strong boys. I don’t care about the second half because the pitch was okay and we could play our own game, but the first half they showed integrity. They showed that they can play in the Champions League,” he added.
“Our combination up front with Percy (Tau) and (Sibusiso) Vilakazi is happening. When Percy isn’t scoring then Vilakazi is coming and scoring, and Gaston (Sirino) is finding his way. (Themba) Zwane and (Hlompho) Kekana were unbelievable in the midfield. Ricardo (Nascimento) at the back was solid. Denis (Onyango) in the first half kept us in the game,” he continued.
“This is Champions League, we must play under any conditions, we don’t complain, but try to win at home. As long as you score two goals at home, it doesn’t matter what happens when you play away,” he expressed.
“It's good we won. The team showed that they are not only shoe-shine, they fight,” Mosimane hailed.
Meanwhile, despite being full of praise for his troops, once again Mosimane singled out his team’s contribution in the final third as a cause for concern.
“We could have done better in terms of the final stages, in the final attacking phase,” Mosimane said.
“We had lots of long and short passes but did not control the ball inside the box. The passes were good, but the technique of handling the ball was not very good,” he explained.