AFRICAN champions Mamelodi Sundowns need to focus on defence and not concede any goals when they face Moroccan champions Wydad Casablanca in the first leg of their Caf Champions League quarterfinal at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday (3pm).
Downs’ ace goalkeeper Denis Onyango, who was named Caf Player of the Year in Africa after helping the Brazilians win the title in 2016, says he is worried about the way they have been conceding late goals.
Said the Ugandan international star: “We’ve been conceding too many late goals since the end of last season and conceded another in injury time when we beat Free State Stars 2-1 away in the Absa Premiership on Monday.
“We have to concentrate and focus for the full 90 minutes against Wydad. We have to finish off the game at home by keeping a clean sheet and scoring at least two or three goals. We don’t want to have our backs to the wall in Casablanca with the crowd and Wydad playing aggressively at home.”
Onyango, who was rested against Ea Lla Koto, added: “Wydad are a top side. I watched them beat Zamalek 5-2 at home in the semifinals last year after they lost 4-0 in Egypt. That shows how dangerous they are at home and underlines that we must make sure we take care of business here.
“We can’t afford to slip up and waste home ground advantage.”
He stressed that he had confidence in his strikers to get the goals: “We have plenty of scorers in the team. But we need to make sure we give no more late goals away.”
Downs head coach Pitso Mosimane suffered a big blow yesterday when star striker Anthony Laffor was ruled out of the clash after he twisted his ankle against FS Stars. Said Laffor: “I’m bitterly disappointed. I’m still waiting for the doctors but it does not look good. I’m hoping I will be fit for the return leg in Casablanca next weekend.”
Laffor, who was one of Mosimane’s go-to players in last year’s successful Champions League campaign, agreed with Onyango that Downs need a big win at home.
“Wydad have a number of top Moroccan internationals in their squad and will come here to defend and frustrate us, trying to sneak in a 1-0 win or a score draw to make it difficult in the return leg,” he said.
“We can’t allow that to happen. It’s going to be a tough game.”