Rulani Mokwena pleased with Mamelodi Sundowns grit as they book Al Ahly AFL semifinal tie

Rulani Mokwena pleased with Mamelodi Sundowns grit as they book Al Ahly AFL semifinal tie

Mamelodi Sundowns have booked a semifinal tie with Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the inaugural African Football League this weekend following a gritty performance against Petro de Luanda.

The Brazilians hosted the second leg against their Angolan counterparts on Tuesday night enjoying a 2-0 lead from the away game four days ago, but were quickly on the back foot when defender Mothobi Mvala was sent off two minutes into the clash at Loftus Stadium.

But a masterclass in defending kept the score line goalless to send Sundowns through and set up a tie against Ahly.

Mokwena was elated.

"You put it so eloquently, you know, they dance under pressure that's why I say incredible compliments to them. I've said this ever since I've been here with this group, I've told you guys how honest they are, how good they are as human beings," Mokwena said.

The coach is one to always call for improvement and was already pointing to the fact that the group will sit to assess how they could have done even better with 10-men.

"Collectively I think they were outstanding and the level is very good. The level is good not just from Riva [Rivaldo Coetzee] but from all the players but of course as I said they know that tomorrow there’ll be video clips that show things that we could have done better. We always have that growth mindset where we do our corrections and we sit and we analyse and we try to improve the individual performances so that we can improve the collective," Mokwena added.

Ahead of facing Ahly, the Sundowns mentor says he’s praying to have at least one of strikers Lucas Costa or Peter Shalulile back before Sunday’s big semifinal first leg.

"My prayer is just that he resuscitates and he brings back Lucas and Peter or Thapelo as soon as we possibly can because for sure they make a big difference. Again, you've gotta complement the rest of the players that have come in and they've shown that we can count on them. Gaston [Sirino] has done exceptionally well since his return, he's shown incredible humility but that's life, you know."